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RICS: Shortage of bricklayers and quantity surveyors worsening

Skills shortage concerns have reached their highest level since 2008 with demand greatest for bricklayers and quantity surveyors, the latest RICS UK market survey has found.

In the second quarter of 2014, 59 per cent of respondents reported a shortage of bricklayers, compared with just 7 per cent in Q2 2013.

Meanwhile 54 per cent said there was a shortage of quantity surveyors in the second quarter, up from 19 per cent in the same period last year.

Half of those surveyed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors now say the skills shortage is an impediment to growth, compared with only 7 per cent in Q2 2013.

The RICS UK Construction Market Survey Q2 2014 showed that the private housing, commercial and industrial sectors are driving strong growth across the whole of the UK, with workloads rising at a record pace in the Midlands.

In addition to a shortage of skilled people, 58 per cent of those surveyed said increasing delivery times for certain materials had become a constraint on activity. In Q2 2013, just 5 per cent were concerned about a materials shortage.

Across the UK, 60 per cent of respondents said employment in the industry would increase over the next 12 months.

RICS director of built environment Alan Muse said: “The UK construction market is mirroring the natural consequence of a rise in demand after five subdued years.

“The upsurge in housing demand is creating pressure across an industry which failed to invest in attracting new talent or in the training of existing employees at the height of the economic downturn and this in turn is creating similar effects among material supply.”

He added: “The good news is that there is reason for optimism, with workloads, profits and employment all forecast to deliver growth over the next 12 months and it is now the responsibility of industry to invest in training and technology to ensure it capitalises on these opportunities.”

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