How we address the skill shortage in the construction industry
Construction is generally considered to be buoyant and have a pretty secure future. After all, there will always be a need for housing (the shortage of new homes is a permanent feature of the political agenda). But the industry faces serious challenges and here at QDTS Construction we are committed to finding effective solutions.
Why is the future looking less-than-rosy for our industry? It’s somewhat of a ‘perfect storm’ of factors combining to cause significant concern.
Skill shortages are at record levels, due to: –
- Retirement – 25% of those within the industry are over 50 years old and 15% are over 60
- Poor take-up – the number of apprentices has been dropping and is at an all-time low
- Appeal – fewer than 10% of young people are considering a future career in construction
- Promotion – whilst other professions like Education and Healthcare have had national recruitment drives, Construction has not
- Brexit – uncertainty about the future is causing 30% of EU construction workers to consider leaving and putting off many others to come
- Contracts – trends for temporary/short-term contracts has moved Construction away from being a life career
Understanding the current skills shortage may be the first step, but at QDTS we want to positively address the challenge. A recent Chartered Institute of Builders study suggests that we need close to 157,000 new recruits by 2021. Such a big ask requires clever thinking and cross-industry co-operation.
Leading by example is something we do very well, so we’ve not been standing still, simply ‘waiting to see what happens’. Our determined approach focusses on both recruitment and retention, tackled in a number of ways: –
- We visit schools and colleges to get the word out there that a career in construction can offer many opportunities across numerous disciplines such as design, architecture, civil engineering, plumbing, carpentry, carpet fitting and even sales
- We invest in apprenticeships to attract and retain young talent, focussing on their well-being, training and development, ‘upskilling’ them by partnering with experienced staff and encouraging them to attain qualifications
- We create a positive work environment across all areas of the business and put our people at the heart of the business, maximising employee engagement, retaining our best staff long term and spreading the word outside of the workplace itself
Our recent win at the 2019 Niche Business Awards backs up the effectiveness of this strategy. The ‘Employer of the Year Award’, which we were delighted to win, recognises businesses who create an exceptional working environment and opportunities for employees.
Corporate Social Responsibility is extremely important to us and we know that it showcases the positive contribution the industry can make. Whether it is our work at Leicester Tigers Foundation Monument or the improvement of the outdoor space at Croft Primary School, every one of these activities boosts the morale of our workforce. We are also a main sponsor for the Bodie Hodges 2019 Santa Fun Run and will be working very closely with Leicestershire based cancer research charity Hope Against Cancer in 2020, as part of their Hope For Life Appeal. The team love being able to support such wonderful charities as part of their role, and we hope that this will encourage future recruits to join the team.