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Skills shortage threatens economic recovery!

A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) states that skills shortages are contributing to a slowdown in the construction sector, which poses a ‘serious challenge’ not only to the industry but the economy as a whole. The publication also highlighted the knock-on effect as sub-contractors snap- up work and drive up their prices.


Chris Temple, engineering and construction leader at PwC, commented: “On the whole, [this report] doesn’t sway is from our view that the construction sector will experience healthy growth this year. However, the on-going skills shortage is an area of concern.


“The sector has serious skills gaps, and while the government’s plan to create three million more apprentices by 2020 will help in the long term, the situation will get worse before it gets better as older skilled workers retire.


“This is of course a serious challenge for the construction industry but it has wider implications for the rebalancing of the economy. In particular, it will continue to put the brakes on the build of new affordable housing [that] is in such critical demand. In addition, it may result in lower overall construction growth than could be achieved if labour was in plentiful supply.”


Figures from the report state that 55 per cent of UK construction companies expect an increase in business activity over the next 12 months, while just four per cent forecast a reduction in activity.


Residential building remained the fastest growing area of the sector, though it saw the greatest loss of momentum since June, compared to other sectors. However, work on commercial projects rose at the fastest rate since March.


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