In February 2016, the government asked the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) to look at the labour model within the construction industry and the pressures on skills and other constraints that limit housebuilding and infrastructure development in the UK. The CLC commissioned Mark Farmer to undertake a review and his report, The Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model was published on 17 October 2016.
The independent Farmer Review, commissioned by two Government departments, highlights construction’s dysfunctional training model, its lack of innovation and collaboration as well as its non-existent research and development (R&D) culture. Farmer says the construction sector must “modernise or die” and faces “inexorable decline” unless radical steps are taken to address its longstanding problems.
House builders are, according to yesterday’s Daily Mail are being “forced” to hire bricklayers from Portugal on £1,000 a week because of a shortage of workers that are able to do the job. According to recruiters, a shortage of skilled people in the UK is forcing firms to look abroad for construction workers, who can demand double the “usual” day rate.
But the influx of overseas tradesmen could actually be good for the industry. Most European workers are more polite, co operative and produce higher standards of work than British tradesmen. Many site managers would actually prefer a Lithuanian or Pole to many British workers!
James Hick, from the recruitment company Manpower, told the Daily Mail that building firms were looking for bricklayers in Portugal. He said: “There is a severe shortage of skilled tradespeople in Britain bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, mechanical engineers, HGV drivers.”
“Where they were paying £500 a week at the beginning of the year, the demand for those skills means they are now paying £1,000 a week. That pressure on skills is huge, particularly in the construction industry in the South East and London. During the downturn, he said, many firms stopped training schemes and were left without skilled workers when contracts started coming in. That is not something that can be resolved quickly, but companies need people who can work now, so they have had to put up pay and look elsewhere.”