Tuesday, 21 March 2017

UK construction industry could lose 8% of workforce post-Brexit

Many of us have been left very confused with Brexit and how it will ultimately affect the building and construction industry. So far the scare stories do not seem the have been realised. Both optimism and the evidence has remained pretty good that much of it is hype. However, an area which has been a problem for the industry for some time is a shortage of a skilled work force and this could be the one area where Brexit really does have some impact, as we have benefitted by EU workers for many years now. 

New RICS figures last week revealed that the UK construction industry could lose almost 200,000 EU workers post-Brexit should Britain lose access to the single market, putting some of the country’s biggest infrastructure and construction projects under threat.

  • 8% of UK construction workforce comes from the EU
  • Post-Brexit, should UK lose access to single market, 176,500 jobs could be under threat
  • Industry is already facing skills shortages, jeopardising a predicted £500 billion project pipeline

RICS has cautioned that for Brexit to succeed, it is essential to secure continued access to the EU Single Market or to put alternative plans in place to safeguard the future of the property and construction sectors in the UK.

Latest RICS figures show that 8% of the UK’s construction workers are EU nationals, accounting for some 176,500 people. 30% of construction professionals surveyed revealed that hiring non-UK workers was important to the success of their businesses.

The UK is already in the grip of a construction skills crisis. While some overseas professionals, such as ballet dancers, are regarded as critical by the UK Government, and are therefore prioritised during the visa application process, construction professions have not yet been added to the 'UK Shortage Occupations List'. RICS is warning that this could already be placing the UK’s predicted £500 billion infrastructure pipeline under threat and must be addressed as a priority.

When asked about the effectiveness of current plans to address the UK’s long-term skills shortages, 20% of respondents felt that apprenticeship schemes were not effective at all.

Image from: Shutterstock

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