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Construction firms' skills fears

Construction companies are worried about their chances of meeting soaring demand for top level staff, research has revealed.

A survey by business group the CBI and education specialists Pearson found that building firms lacked faith in finding the skills they need for the next few years.

The balance of companies saying they were confident in meeting demand for high skilled staff over the next three to five years was -18%.

These fears come as firms in the sector forecast a rapid rise in need for highly skilled individuals.

A balance of 81% of construction firms surveyed anticipated a boost in demand for leadership and management skills over the next three to five years.

This compared to balances of 71% in the engineering, science and hi-tech industry; 66% in manufacturing; 65% in retail, hospitality, transport and distribution; and 58% in professional services.

It was a similar story for highly skilled staff, where a balance of 73% expected a rise in demand in the construction industry, higher than in all other sectors.

CBI deputy director-general Katja Hall said:“The government has set out its stall to create a high skilled economy, but firms are facing a skills emergency now, threatening to starve economic growth.

“Worryingly, it’s those high-growth, high-value sectors with the most potential which are the ones under most pressure. That includes construction, manufacturing, science, engineering and technology.”

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