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Shortage of construction workers reaches record high, study warns

Skills shortages are worsening as most construction firms cannot find a bricklayer or carpenter, a report warns.

Most smaller construction firms are struggling to hire bricklayers and carpenters amid a worsening shortage of skilled workers, a new report warns.

Research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) found there were also problems hiring other tradesmen and women, including plumbers, electricians and plasterers.

A survey of more than 330 small and medium sized construction companies (SMEs) showed that as many as two out of three were being hit by recruitment problems.

The shortage of skilled workers in the industry has hit a record high, said the report.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Skills shortages are skyrocketing, and it begs the question: who will build the new homes and infrastructure projects the Government is crying out for?

“The Government has set itself an ambitious target to build 300,000 homes every year in England alone. More than two-thirds of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers which is one of the key trades in the building industry.

“This has increased by nearly 10% in just three months which points to a rapid worsening of an already dire situation. Nearly as many are facing difficulties hiring carpenters and joiners. These figures are the highest we’ve noted since records began a decade ago.”

Wages for scarce skilled workers are increasing “rapidly”, said the federation.

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