Construction Industry Labour Shortages

‘Construction Industry Labour Shortages’ written by McLoughlin Group Holdings Managing Director Kevin McLoughlin MBE FCIOB

So here we are finally getting there, all the predictions for years that if the industry does not start to train its workforce, then critical shortages will occur.

In the pursuit of the cheap bottom line, we now face out-of-control wage inflation, workers now moving around at the slightest hint of more money, P.A.Y.E becoming an expensive ideology, workers taking summer holidays off and returning in the Autumn if at all. Umbrellas now controlling the workers.  The industry has no one else to blame but itself, in the not-too-distant future the insolvencies will start to multiply. This situation will now start to impact the growth of the economy, a recession in the industry is the only short-term answer to labour shortages (and this isn’t going to happen any time soon). The long-term success is investment by S.M.E’s and supply chain companies (frowned upon by Tier 1 contractors). As this investment is seen as adding cost to contracts there are so many contracts that are now under resourced and behind programme. This is now not a prediction but a fact. For as long as bonuses are still paid, and shareholders get their dividends on the low margin jobs the situation will not be changed. The big question now is how does the industry start to rectify this problem?

One of the biggest problems is getting new English people into the industry, they are not interested in us. We have allowed a workforce to abstain from financially contributing to our economy, paying just 20% tax less expenses with little or no National Insurance. This affects us greatly as an economy. Most self employed in the industry do not have a pension, this is a massive financial burden for the Country and in years to come will inevitably end up costing all taxpayers more. Very few people have benefited from all these practices. The Government meant well when they paid self-employed people through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, the enormous cost will never be recovered from construction, in fact a lot of people will not return to this Country so they can avoid any potential repayment. There are so many overriding factors it is hard to see quick solutions to our predicament.  Any Ideas?