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Higher pay in building trade as firms struggle with lack of skilled workers

Published 24/05/2016

A new report highlights a lack of skilled workers in the construction industry
A new report highlights a lack of skilled workers in the construction industry

Bricklayers are being paid up to £25 an hour as building firms struggle to recruit skilled workers, a new report has revealed.

A shortage of tradesmen and women is now regarded as one of the main risks to business, with vacancies for bricklayers particularly hard to fill, the study found.

Three out of five recruitment agencies say that demand for temporary construction workers has increased, said the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

Recruiters believe a vote to leave the EU would worsen the skills shortages, it said.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: "If you work in construction you can expect to be earning £34 a week more than last year, and our data indicates that some employers are increasing pay faster as the competition for skilled workers intensifies.

"Whilst this is great news for builders and tradesmen, there are hard questions that need to be asked about the sustainability of this trend. The UK is close to full employment and building firms are already struggling to find the people needed for major infrastructure projects.

"If Britain leaves the EU there's no doubt that recruitment for some construction roles will become even more of a challenge.

"Whatever the outcome of the EU referendum we need to address deep-seated skills shortages. That means more apprenticeships, greater investment in skills development by employers, better careers guidance in schools, and more work experience opportunities so that young people are shown the potential benefits of a career in construction."

Some bricklayers are taking home up to £1,000 a week, with rates especially high in London, the report added.

A Business Department spokesman said: "Apprenticeships deliver the skills employers and the economy need for growth. That's why we are giving employers - including those in the construction industry - the power to design new high-quality apprenticeships that address the skills shortages facing their industry."

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