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Construction skills shortage deepens

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) indicates that the skills shortage will continue as the demand for construction work increases.

Surveying more than 1200 managers and directors in construction, the majority working for large companies employing more than 500 people, they found that people in crafts/trades, senior and middle management skills are highly sought after, yet migrant workers are mainly filling manual occupations.

Nine-tenths of respondents believed the UK construction industry is currently suffering a skills shortage.

83% of respondents felt that recruiting senior management and 84% felt middle management was 'difficult'. This represents an increase of 7% and 9% respectively compared to results from the CIOB's skills survey in 2006.

Michael Brown CIOB deputy chief executive said, "Despite the current credit crunch, 70% of the respondents believe that there will be an increase in construction demand in 2008 together with a worsening supply of middle and senior management.

"The shortage of professionals and managers within the industry is reflected in many parts of the world. Areas such as the Middle East will be a continuing draw for UK talent exacerbating the situation in the UK.

"We also know that the demand from young people for apprenticeship is outstripping the number of training places available in the industry. In 2007 ConstructionSkills, the industry's Sector Skills Council, was only able to place 8,500 people into apprenticeships out of the 50,000 who applied. This lack of apprenticeships will have a long-term impact on the skills base of the future," he said.

The findings also highlight a recent reduction in the numbers of migrant workers coming to the UK to work. If migrants do posess good skills, they may not be recruited due to poor English.

The majority of respondents said that their organisation relied on those migrant workers who are already in the UK.

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