The recession often seems a long way away now, but one aspect of it continues to dog just about every industry sector – the skills gap.
This is never more keenly felt than in the commercial property sector, which virtually shut up shop to recruitment for at least five years following the recession and the lack of sufficiently skilled workers also remains an obstacle for many businesses.
And the problem isn’t confined to brickies on the ground – it’s across the spectrum. Skills shortages in the Midlands has been a long running issue and now the intensification of labour shortages is biting once more with contributors citing this as an impediment to growth.
Respondents to a recent RICS survey say they are still seeing a lack of quantity surveyors (64%) as well as other professionals (53%) across the region. Some 44% are also seeing a shortage of workers with specific trades, all hampering growth. The same survey also revealed that investment and hiring decisions are being affected by uncertainties surrounding Brexit.
RICS says that, despite government efforts to bolster the workforce and the prominence of apprentices through an apprenticeship levy introduced earlier this spring, only 42% of respondents to its survey feel that government-funded programmes are moderately effective, with one-third unsure. The quality of the talent pipeline is insufficient as well – less than half (45%) of employers who currently hire apprentices view them as a long-term solution to their hiring needs.
Despite this, workloads in the construction industry continue to rise, and 28 per cent more businesses expect employment to rise rather than fall, up from 26 per cent in Quarter 2 – which is great news for the commercial property sector. Now, if only someone would build some new office space in the East Midlands…