Skills shortages in contractors’ offices are deepening as a lack of qualified applicants continues to hamper industry expansion.
The latest State of Trade Survey by Build UK members highlights labour supply as a continuing major concern.
And the shortages are now intensifying among white collar staff with contractors reporting problems recruiting supervisors, managerial, professional and technical staff along with bricklayers and cladders.
The main reasons stated for the difficulties in filling vacancies were the low number of applicants with the required skills (53%), a lack of required experience (53%) and a lack of qualifications (48%).
The survey was undertaken in association with Glenigan and shows that while output rose only slightly, contractors reported a strengthening in enquiries during the quarter.
Costs for contractors continue to rise as 39% reported a rise in all building costs over the past quarter and almost two-thirds of contractors reported a rise over the past year.
The cost of labour rose with 43% reporting an increase in labour costs compared to the previous quarter, and almost two thirds reporting that their labour costs were higher than a year ago.
Contractors remain positive about their future prospects with 27% expecting workloads to rise during the next quarter and 52% over the next 12 months.
Build UK Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol said: “Employers are experiencing both rising material and labour costs as they head towards maximum capacity and this continues to highlight difficulties in recruiting appropriate skills at all levels.”