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Skills shortage tops agenda for global players

Overcoming the chronic skills shortage is the biggest challenge the global construction industry faces, according to a survey by a leading accountancy firm.

KPMG’s Global Construction Survey polled major contractors around the world and revealed various industry concerns, including rising costs and sustainability, but the skills shortage topped the pile.

Over half of those who responded described the problem as critical and the remaining participants believed it would continue to affect their business over the next five years.

Eighty-four per cent of firms believed the industry was failing to do enough to combat the shortfall in talent.

This shortfall has led to fears that a lack of good people would strangle firms’ growth plans, with half of contractors expressing concern over the issue. However, the majority said they would continue to bid for major contracts, accepting the risk that, with a lack of resources, projects could run into -trouble.

Despite a generally negative picture, two-thirds of respondents felt their own company was doing enough to attract the right people.

Solutions to the problem included better training, greater cooperation with universities and an improved salary and career structure. But ultimately the industry felt it had to improve its image.

There was also a general consensus that the industry needed to do better in terms of education and training. But at the same time 55 per cent felt their company was ‘very effective’ in its internal education programmes.

Only one in five respondents believed that the national education for construction industry professionals met the same standards and less than a third said they were satisfied with the level of on the job training for tradesmen.

Recruitment incentives

Salary was singled out as the main motivating factor in recruiting new talent, but when it came to compensation and benefits there was an unwillingness to lead the market. Contractors were wary of building a large payroll at a time when other costs were rising.

The survey concluded that the industry needed to pull together to overcome people shortages by making a concerted effort to attract school leavers and graduates.

It found the lack of collaboration between various stakeholders as being a problem. Through greater cooperation with educational establishments the industry could set up special academies, encourage internships and offer scholarships.

For related articles see:

Building firms urged to offer more apprenticeships

Grab the best of UK talent

Skills study says industry is failing to recruit managers

CIOB: Skills shortage set to worsen

Can construction cope with the migrant exodus?