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Shortage of Workers and Jobless at a 6-year Low…When Will Wages Rise?

RICS reported in its Q2 2014 Construction Market Survey that the skills shortage in the construction industry now stands at the highest level since 2008, with 54% of respondents saying there are insufficient numbers of Quantity Surveyors currently available to meet workloads (up from 41% in Q1 2014).

The figures show that private housing, commercial and industrial sectors are driving strong growth across the whole of the UK, with particularly encouraging performance in the Midlands, which saw workloads rise at a record pace.

However, a shortage of white and blue collar workers (59% of respondents reported shortages of bricklayers and 51% reported a shortage of managerial workers) coupled with difficulties in the sourcing of some key building materials (brick imports were 63% higher than in Q2 2013) is likely to result in upward pressure on costs and prices.

Despite this, employment prospects for the sector remain firm, as the industry gets to grips with meeting rapidly rising demands from a historically low base. Across the whole of the UK, a net balance of 60% of respondents expect employment to rise over the next 12 months, with London and the South East outperforming the rest of the UK and Northern Ireland's employment prospects steadily improving (31%).

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