Staff short­age in con­struc­tion in­dus­try: report

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY STAFF RE­PORTER

MOST smaller build­ing firms are strug­gling to hire car­pen­ters, join­ers and brick­lay­ers, a new report has re­vealed.

Salaries in the in­dus­try are in­creas­ing be­cause of the “ever wors­en­ing” short­age of skilled work­ers, said the Fed­er­a­tion of Mas­ter Builders (FMB).

Its sur­vey of al­most 350 small to medium-sized con­struc­tion com­pa­nies (SMES) found that the sec­tor was grow­ing but at a slower rate.

Around three out of five ex­pected wages to in­crease in the com­ing months while most be­lieve the price of ma­te­ri­als will rise.

Three out of five said they were hav­ing prob­lems re­cruit­ing car­pen­ters, join­ers and brick­lay­ers.

Brian Berry, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the FMB, said: “Ma­te­rial price hikes and skills short­ages are put­ting the brakes on growth among the UK’S small build­ing firms.

“Now that the gen­eral elec­tion is well and truly be­hind us, it was our hope that con­sumer con­fi­dence would spring back and spur growth among small build­ing firms in the third quar­ter of this year.

“How­ever, our lat­est re­search shows that ris­ing costs are damp­en­ing the per­for­mance of con­struc­tion SMES. The spike in salaries is a di­rect re­sult of the ever wors­en­ing skills short­age in our sec­tor. It’s a sim­ple con­se­quence of sup­ply and de­mand.

“Con­struc­tion work­ers know their worth and given the scarcity of skilled trades­peo­ple, these in­di­vid­u­als are un­der­stand­ably de­mand­ing higher wages from their em­ploy­ers.”

There have also been re­cent warn­ings over a slow­down in pub­lic con­struc­tion sec­tor work, due to the col­lapse of Stor­mont, ac­cord­ing to the Con­struc­tion Em­ploy­ers Fed­er­a­tion and BDO.

The sur­vey shows that around two-thirds of con­struc­tion firms here said their books were full, or al­most full, in the first six months of the year.

Brian Mur­phy, part­ner at BDO, said that “po­ten­tially, thou­sands of new jobs” could be cre­ated thanks to the ad­di­tional £400m of in­fras­truc­ture fund­ing be­ing made avail­able.

A lot of that cash, more than £130m, will go to­wards the York Street In­ter­change project.

House build­ing has helped fuel a surge in work in North­ern Ire­land’s con­struc­tion sec­tor.

The sur­vey showed sus­tained growth in the first six months of the year.

Con­struc­tion com­pa­nies are be­ing hit by a short­age of skilled labour

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