Working hard to build the future
Building trade faces challenges from all sides ... but at its heart is recruitment of young people, says Agnes Stevenson
SCOTLAND’S construction sector has recovered from the Brexit vote –when for a few months, employers put appointments on hold – but according to construction specialists, Peace Recruitment, a lack of suitable personnel now is the main hold-up of progress.
Chris Peace, managing director of Peace Recruitment, sponsors of Best Family Home in The Herald Property Awards for Scotland is association with Burness Paull, says: “After Brexit we noticed an initial market slump, but confidence is definitely returning. However a bigger problem within the industry just now is still the skills shortages.
“Competition is high within the construction sector, forcing companies to put in highly competitive tender prices to win the larger framework contracts. The resulting smaller profit margins is leading to firms not investing properly in recruitment or internal development of staff.”
Chris believes that the solution lies in a more flexible attitude to recruitment.
“Companies need to target the younger generation and to close the gender gap and I would also suggest that they plan their recruitment strategy in advance for the next 12 months on a rolling basis.”
A recent report from publicsector-owned built environment firm Scape Group found that nearly 85 per cent of public sector construction managers and 58 per cent of private sector contractors and suppliers cite the current skills shortage as negatively impacting the quality of their workmanship, as well as one in 10 citing it as critically impacting their ability to keep to budget.
The report states that of the public sector managers who responded, 35 per cent rated the skills shortage in their local area as bad or severe.
This shortage is already impacting on delivery quality, with 85 per cent of public sector respondents saying there had been some negative impact on the quality of workmanship they received.
Throughout the survey, the skills shortage resonated as one of the most serious barriers to growth and efficiency within the construction industry.
It says that while there has been a drive to increase the number of apprenticeships, more needs to be done and there is a need to address the gender gap within the industry which is acutely pronounced.
NEW GENERATION: Chris Pearce believes a more flexible attitude to young employees is needed.