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Shortage of skilled workers sees bricklayers demanding £24 an hour, survey shows

Scaffolders and bricklayers are being paid up to £24 an hour amid a "chronic" shortage of skilled workers as employers continue to hire despite Brexit-related uncertainty, a study shows.

Research by employment group Manpower found firms reporting the most optimistic outlook for three years.

A survey of more than 2,100 companies revealed a positive picture in private firms, but fears that the public sector will shrink in the new year.

The outlook is most promising in construction and utilities, but they face a shortage of skilled workers, which is driving up pay.

Manpower said scaffolders and bricklayers can command between £22 and £24 an hour in regions such as the East of England.

In contrast, employment in transport is predicted to fall, with the sector probably reaching its peak, said the report.

Mark Cahill, ManpowerGroup UK managing director, said: "UK companies are going into 2017 hungry for top talent. Employers are still unsure about what exactly Brexit will mean, but are not letting that uncertainty deter them from hiring.

"Some employers may be looking to bring in talent while they can before any curbs to freedom of movement across the European Union come into effect, as more than half of all the jobs created by UK employers this year went to EU workers."

Mr Cahill said the biggest headache for employers was a shortage of suitably skilled workers, especially if Brexit makes it harder to recruit staff from other countries.

Hiring in private firms has reached the highest level for three years, but is expected to fall in the public sector in the first few months of 2017, the report added.

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