How Can You Be Part of Closing the Construction Skills Gap

If you work in the construction sector you won’t be naive to the fact that there is a skills shortage. In fact, according to the Chief Executive of The Federation of Master Builders, the industry is experiencing a serious skills shortage which is leaving many companies having to turn down work and unable to fulfil contracts. 

As construction workers reach retirement age, and with fewer people entering the industry to replace them, alongside the fall in European workers due to Brexit, there’s never been a more critical time to take action on the growing skills shortage. 

While there needs to be policy change from a government level, with a need for better education and upskilling, it’s also on everyone in the construction industry to find a way to grow the sector and make it an industry young people want to join. 

At present, the skills shortage runs huge risks for the construction sector resulting in many companies going over time and over budget on projects due to the lack of labour. It’s ultimately a ripple effect. 

As an employer in construction, there are actions you can take to begin to turn the tide.

In this feature, we’ve listed some of the ways in which you can start to find skilled workers for the roles you need to fill, and how you can promote the construction sector to a younger workforce. 

Shout About Your Projects

One way to attract both current skilled workers and the next generation is to shout about the projects you have worked on. 

Admittedly in the construction industry, we’re often too busy to shout about completed projects, or even share the work-in-progress, but this helps in so many ways. 

With potential candidates it makes them aware of the types of projects you work on, giving them a glimpse at the work they could be doing. And it makes them feel job security when applying for a role with your company, as you look busy. 

Too many construction firms neglect their social presence, and this doesn’t help build trust with clients or candidates, as abandoned social pages just make the company look like they’re not busy, or worse, not in business at all. 

Share as much as you can on social media about the projects you work on, as well as your company culture and team photos. It needs to look like a place people want to work for. 

Embrace Work Experience & Apprenticeships

While there is still much work to be done from the government about improving apprenticeships, these can enable you to train young people and nurture them in your company. 

Adopting mentorship programmes, work experience, or apprenticeships can help attract more people to the industry and into your company. 

Work experience and apprenticeships are particularly good for bringing in young workers into the industry before they have even left education, as many are keen to gain a job once their experience is complete. 

With job prospects feeling uncertain for graduates and young workers, this may come as a welcome relief to some. 

Engage with Local Schools & Colleges 

The more people that are aware of the work and the career pathways in construction, the more who may decide on a job in the sector. 

As there are so many pathways in the construction industry now thanks to advancements in technology, it’s essential that we highlight just how many varied routes people can go down with their careers. 

Work with your local schools and colleges to see how you can get involved in careers days or speaking opportunities. 

If you have the ability, try to get other people in your network involved so the young people understand that it’s an industry for all. For example, if you can bring along any women who work in construction, as well as different people with alternative roles. 

A diverse group will provide an idea of representation and you will have a better impact when sharing your stories about the opportunities available to them. 

People want to be able to imagine themselves in that role, so be wise about how you get involved. 

Create Career Pathways 

Both existing skilled workers and young people want opportunities in their careers no matter the industry. So what pathways are you currently providing? 

If someone was to join your company today in a role, where could they be in five years time? 

Career pathways are essential in any company as they provide people something to work towards and enable them to understand how to switch careers in a company, without leaving the company. 

Once you’ve mapped out the career pathways available, share this with your recruiter, on your website and even across your social media pages. This will help make potential candidates aware that you’re not just offering a job, but a career for life. 

There is still much work that needs to be done across the construction industry by all the independent bodies, educators and the government. But if each company took measures to make a small impact, we could turn the tide on this crippling skills shortage.