Housebuilding needs 370,000 new workers - Arcadis

The housebuilding industry will need to employ more than 370,000 new people if the UK is to raise output to 270,000 new homes per year over the next five years, according to a new report.

The Arcadis Talent Scale – which measures the true extent of the skills crisis across the housebuilding and infrastructure workforce - reveals that the sector must recruit one worker every 85 seconds to meet swelling housing demand. The report warns that failure to address the labour gap could lead to the rise of the UK’s MINTED workforce – the “Most in Need Trades Earning Double”. These tradespeople’s earnings could “sky-rocket inside a generation”.

The publication finds that carpenters and joiners are the most sought after trades, with demand for them accounting for almost one sixth of all national resource requirements. Bricklayers, plumbers and electricians are also highly desired.

In London and the south east, 110,000 more people will need to be employed, accounting for nearly 30% of total demand across the UK. And in a “hard Brexit” scenario, 215,000 fewer EU citizens would enter the infrastructure and housebuilding sectors between now and 2020, Arcadis predicted, “further exacerbating the existing labour shortage”.

James Bryce, Arcadis’ director of workforce planning, said: “What we have is not a skills gap; it is a skills gulf. Systemic underinvestment in the nation’s workforce has contributed to a reduction in UK productivity. We need to bring more new talent into the industry but, in the short term, construction will also need to look at those currently working in other industries and dramatically improve its efficiency.”

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