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Shortage of Labour in the UK Construction Industry

Tuba Tasneem

March 07, 2023

Read time : 03 mins

Table of contents

Why is there a Labour shortage? Effects Of Shortage In Industry How To Acquire Construction Job? What is a CSCS Green Card? Do I Need NVQ To Get CSCS Green Card?

Nowadays, it is nearly difficult to read the news without learning about a shortage of products and workers. According to recent statistics, the number of open positions in the UK has surpassed 1 million for the first time in history, illustrating how difficult it is for some industries to fill such positions with competent candidates.

Construction is a sector where labour shortages are causing significant project delays. It has never been easier to get work if you want to start a career in construction. This blog examines how to find the training for this profession.

Shortage of Labour in the UK

Why is there a labour shortage in the construction industry?

The Office for National Statistics reports over 33,000 open positions in the construction industry, which is a 20-year high. Several reasons, including Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, and an ageing workforce, have been cited as the causes.

Nearly every business and every nation have been influenced by Covid-19. Even though it continued for the bulk of the pandemic in the UK, construction work has suffered significantly over the past 18 months. Due to the virus and national restrictions, many projects have been difficult to finish, and workers have had trouble getting the training they need to work legally on sites. The so-called “pingdemic” and COVID-related illnesses have raised absenteeism rates, leaving businesses understaffed.

Brexit has significantly impacted the industry. EU nationals working in the UK construction business have decreased by 42% since 2017. This is partly related to tougher immigration regulations that hinder workers from remaining in the nation and from immigrating. This has caused a considerable imbalance in the number of workers and industry knowledge.

Half a million construction employees are anticipated to retire in the following 10 to 15 years, contributing to the industry’s ageing workforce. This results in fewer personnel and the loss of a great deal of expertise and knowledge. To help the business deal with the loss of experienced personnel when they retire, it is crucial for both new and existing employees to receive on-the-job upskilling.

Shortage of Labour in the UK Construction Industry

What are the effects of the skill shortage in the construction industry?

Cost is the main impact of the skills gap in construction. Recruitment costs increase when it is challenging to locate employees because construction companies must put more money and effort into the search. As a result, businesses may be forced to pay over market rates to acquire scarce skills, which may increase inflated compensation.

Another problem with temporary staffing is paying excessive salaries to employees. While waiting for a long-term solution, corporations frequently have little alternative but to pay a substantially higher fee for temporary personnel as a stop-gap. Organisations in the UK paid an additional £2.2 billion in 2020 compared to 2019 due to short-term deficits. There is also the added expense of retraining employees with lower qualifications to the appropriate level.

For construction companies, declining employment has serious ramifications, but accepting contracts is later unable to fulfil an impact on their standing in the sector. Both projects and construction businesses are impacted by the skills gap in the industry, which can lead to projects running over schedule and budget.

How do I acquire a job in construction?

There has not been a better moment to start a career in construction, so if you are interested in the field, these worker shortages may work to your benefit. The ideal place to start is an entry-level position, such as a construction labourer.

On building sites, construction labourers perform a variety of fundamental tasks. These might involve bricklaying, excavation work, laying foundations, etc.

You must possess a CSCS Green Card to enter the job site and perform the duties of a construction labourer.

What is a Green CSCS card?

Workers must present the CSCS Green Card, also known as the CSCS Labourer Card, to enter the worksite and carry out their responsibilities. It demonstrates that the bearer possesses the necessary health and safety knowledge to work safely in a construction setting. Even though it’s not strictly necessary, most construction companies will insist employees have this card to enter the site and perform their duties. Read our guide on the Labourer Card for more information.

Do I need an NVQ to obtain a CSCS Green Card?

No, an NVQ is not necessary to get a CSCS Green Card. But you need to complete our Level 1 Award in Health and Safety in a construction environment course, to obtain the CSCS green card in the most straightforward possible manner. This one-day session will give participants all the essential information they need to keep safe on the job site. After completing the course, apply for the CSCS Green Card.