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23.02.2017 – 10:30

ARCADIS Germany GmbH

Britain must recruit one worker every 77 seconds to meet construction needs, claims Arcadis

Darmstadt (ots)

Annual 400,000 people deficit threatens the UK's housing and infrastructure delivery

   - Failure to tackle labour shortfall could give rise to UK's 
     MINTED workforce - Most in Need Trades Earning Double
   - UK could miss out on an additional 215,000 migrant workers by 
     2020 in event of 'hard' Brexit 

British construction must recruit over 400,000 people each and every year between now and 2021 - equivalent to one worker every 77 seconds - if it is to create the homes and infrastructure the nation needs, according to the latest report from Arcadis. Failure to address the skills gulf could even see the earnings of some tradespeople sky-rocketing inside a generation, leading to the rise of the MINTED workforce - the Most in Need Trades Earning Double.

The Arcadis Talent Scale has been developed to measure the true extent of the skills crisis across the infrastructure and house building workforce. In house building alone, the study shows that if the UK is to increase output to 270,000 new homes over the next five years, it will need to employ in excess of 370,000 new people. Meanwhile, when it comes to meeting forecast national infrastructure requirements, an additional 36,500 people will need to be employed every year.

When it comes to individual skills, the greatest need is for carpenters and joiners, where demand accounts for nearly one sixth of all national resource requirements. Plumbers, Electricians, and Bricklayers are also in high demand, particularly in the labour-intensive housebuilding sector. Meanwhile, the report identifies a need for over 7,400 Civil Engineers and 7,300 Quantity Surveyors.

London and the South East will need to employ more people than any other part of the UK, accounting for nearly 30 percent of total demand (110,000 people). With major national infrastructure programmes such as HS2 and Crossrail 2 already in the pipeline, it is expected that companies will need to draw heavily on the common talent pool of transferable skills if delivery targets are to be achieved.

Outside of London and the South East, the highest skills requirement is in the East of England and the South West, where more than 43,000 and 41,000 additional workers respectively are needed to meet projected regional housing and infrastructure requirements. At the bottom of the table is Northern Ireland, where employment demand accounts for just 3 percent of the national total.

New people needed each year to fulfil house building and infrastructure needs 2016-2021 (an excerpt)

Carpenters & Joiners 60,409 
Plumbers 46,827 
Electricians 40,340 
Painters 33,641 
Construction Directors 26,403 
Bricklayers 18,146 
Program Managers 7,478 
Civil Engineers 7,414 
Quantity Surveyors 7,325 
SE 55,440 
Lon 54,556 
East of Eng 43,052 
SW 41,766 
NW 37,976 
Yorks & Humber 37,261 S
cot 35,932 
West Mids 28,992 
East Mids 29,074 
Wales 17,874 
NE 13,446 
NI 12,127 
Total 407,495 

These figures are independent of the impact of any eventual Brexit deal, which is likely to further increase the strain. In the event of a 'hard' Brexit scenario - for instance, extending the points-based system currently in place for non-EU migrants - the number of EU construction workers entering the UK could fall at the rate of attrition. If this were to play out, 215,000 fewer people from the EU would enter the infrastructure and house building sectors between now and 2020, further exacerbating the existing labour shortage.

James Bryce, Arcadis Director of Workforce Planning, explained:

"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. Construction employment is already down 15 percent on 2008 and, quite simply, if we don't have the right people to build the homes and infrastructure we need, the UK is going to struggle to maintain it's competitive position in the global economy.

"However, overcoming a skills shortfall as vast as the one we now face can't be achieved through education and technology alone. Of course, 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.

"On top of this, as part of any Brexit deal, the government can help by looking to secure the rights of EU workers currently operating in British construction, simplifying the visa system and minimising the tax burden on workers and business. If this fails to happen, many of the projects that the British government have earmarked for economic stimulus could prove more difficult and costly to resource. In the worst case scenario these projects could fail to be delivered at all, reducing our ability to grow the economy and limiting investment in the industry."

About Arcadis

Arcadis is the leading global Design & Consultancy firm for natural and built assets. Applying our deep market sector insights and collective design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services we work in partnership with our clients to deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes throughout the lifecycle of their natural and built assets. We are 27,000 people active in over 70 countries that generate EUR3.3 billion in revenues. We support UN-Habitat with knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world. Arcadis. Improving quality of life.


This report is based on market perceptions and research carried out by Arcadis as a design and consultancy firm for natural and built assets. It is for information and illustrative purposes only and nothing in this report should be relied upon or construed as investment or financial advice (whether regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or otherwise) or information upon which key commercial or corporate decisions should be taken.


Kerri Moore, Arcadis Communications
T: +44 (0)20 7812 2258
M: +44 (0)7821 836 890

Arcadis Deutschland GmbH, Bertram Subtil
Telefon: 06151 388528

Original-Content von: ARCADIS Germany GmbH, übermittelt durch news aktuell