Half of population can’t find skilled tradesmen

The construction sector is being urged to create more apprenticeships to attract more workers to the sector.

This comes after more than half of the UK population said they struggled to hire a suitable tradesperson.

The More Skills Required report from IronmongeryDirect, an architectural ironmongery supplier, found that over the past year one-in-six people (16%) searched for a tradesperson for more than three weeks before finding someone suitable.

While 13% said it took up to two weeks and almost a quarter (24%) had to search for a week.

Two-thirds of respondents said they noticed a shortage of skilled professionals when searching for a person for a job. A third noticed a shortage, but were eventually able to find someone and 3% admitted that they were unable to find anyone suitable due to a skills shortage.

For those that didn’t notice a skills shortage, 26% said they still had to ring around due to many tradespeople being too busy.

Wayne Lysaght-Mason, managing director at IronmongeryDirect, said: “There has been a lot of discussion in the construction sector recently about the growing skills shortage and how the crisis will affect the industry in the future if the problem isn’t tackled.

“From our research, we can already see that the shortage is having an impact on the UK’s ability to source skilled tradespeople. However, it did indicate that it’s not too bad yet, as 48% of people are generally able to find a suitable tradesperson within a couple of days.

“However, Britain’s impending departure from the EU is likely to have an effect on the labour force so it’s important that the sector takes immediate action to bridge the skills gap, and prevent the issue from getting worse.

Lysaght-Mason added: “One way to attract more talent and skills to the sector is to create more apprenticeships. Currently there are not enough young people entering the profession to meet existing work requirements, nor to replace the number of workers soon to hit retirement age. Firms could also look at up-skilling their existing staff to improve workforce quality and create more specialist talent so they can take on new types of work.

“It’s really important that the whole industry works together to promote the range of rewarding construction careers available in order to attract a new generation of workers, before it’s too late.”

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