Skills shortage warning as construction trade picks up

Chris Peace: 'firms struggling'. Picture: Colin Hattersley
Chris Peace: 'firms struggling'. Picture: Colin Hattersley
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CHRONIC skills shortages in Scotland’s construction sector are the direct result of companies failing to invest in graduates during the lean years, and it could happen again, recruitment experts have warned.

Building activity has been slowly recovering since the recession, thanks to a rebound in housebuilding and the launch of several major public sector construction projects.

However, many businesses have been struggling to recruit skilled workers as demand picks up.

Chris Peace, managing director of Peace Recruitment, which is based in Edinburgh and focuses on the construction, property and engineering sectors, said that firms must rethink their recruitment process now to avoid the skills headache persisting in the future.

“The construction sector is booming right now, but organisations are struggling to recruit skilled workers as demand goes through the roof.

“We are finding that clients seem to all be looking for staff at a similar level, which is usually in the £30,000-£40,000 salary band. Generally speaking ,someone at this salary level now might have been graduating around 2008-9.

“Graduate recruitment was basically non-existent during this time, hence the supply and demand issue now. We are advising clients to consider investing in graduates now, up-skill existing staff members or bring in more experienced industry professionals.”

Owen Goodhead, managing director of specialist construction recruiter Randstad CPE, said: “Britain is facing a skills shortage. We are seeing the very real effects on the industry of the five-year skills gap which will only increase unless we start attracting new people now.”