Company News & Blog

25th May 2015
Published by: Project Scotalnd

Skills shortages still stifling sector recovery

Most firms can't find qualified staff

OVER half of Scottish construction firms are finding it difficult to source skilled workers.

Labour shortages have been recorded across the sector, with bricklayers and construction professionals in particularly short supply.

Although material shortages are falling, Sarah Spiers, Director of RICS in Scotland has spoken of the ‘practical challenges’ of providing skilled labour.  The findings, reported in the latest RICS UK Construction Market Survey, revealed 53% of respondents struggled to find bricklayers whilst 59% had difficulties sourcing construction professionals.

Vaughan Hart, Managing Director of the Scottish Building Federation, said, “Attracting more people back into the industry and investing in skills and training are now critical priorities if we are to avoid a lack of skills and capacity becoming a major obstacle to future growth.”

After labour shortages, financial constraints is perceived as the biggest challenge.  Despite the difficulties, the RICS survey reported outward confidence for growth in the Scottish market is strong.  63% expect workloads to increase over the next year with 33% seeing a rise in private commercial activity in the first quarter.

Derek Ferrier, Managing Partner of Hardies Property & Construction Consultants, said, “Workloads in all of our offices are strong with all areas showing increases in the construction sector along with growth in the residential housing market.  Our fee commissions for 2015/16 are at the same levels as pre-recession 2007, however the biggest difficulty is employing good quality staff to meet the increase in demand as there are major shortages in certain areas of the country.”

Gordon Reid, Business Development Manager for Kier Construction Scotland, added, “As the sector recovers and growth is now emerging, the industry has to plug the gap as a large number of our skilled workforce have since moved on to other sectors and countries.  With all signs pointing to another year of growth, it’s vital the industry acts now to tackle this problem and rebuild a strong talent pipeline for the future.”

Back to News