June 17, 2022
As an ageing workforce retires, the industry’s skill gap is set to widen. Dekko Window Systems Sales Director Kurt Greatrex believes that with hard work and the right investments, we’ll rise to the challenge…
The UK construction industry is a huge part of the national economy, generating over £110 billion a year and accounting for around 7% of the country’s GDP.
But it’s long been known that the industry is experiencing an acute skills shortage that remains one of the biggest problems the sector has had to tackle.
Today, in a post-pandemic market, the industry’s workforce has been stretched like never before, further highlighting the gap.
Certainly a lot has changed over the past two years, but one thing that’s remained is the growing gap in the market of skilled workers.
The biggest reason for the shortage is an ageing workforce. According to the Office for National Statistics, over 20% of UK tradespeople are aged over 50, while 15% are in their 60s.
The problem is, as this generation starts to retire, the same percentage of younger people aren’t entering these professions.
In fact, a YouGov survey shows that just 3% of people aged 18 to 24 are searching for jobs in the construction industry.
School leavers are generally pursuing university degrees in the hopes of lucrative careers, often forgetting that you can actually earn quite a good living in construction and fenestration.
Brexit is another big reason behind the growing industry skills gap.
According to the Labour Force Survey, 8.2% of the UK construction workforce are EU nationals, many of whom have returned home following the UK’s departure.
There are also many workers who returned home during the height of the pandemic, and have not since been able to return due to new stringent immigration laws.
Figures from the Construction Industry Training Board show that in order to make up for this, the UK construction industry will have to recruit an additional 250,000 workers in the next four years.
And while it of course remains possible to recruit people from overseas, new immigration rules make it a hassle many businesses simply don’t want to have to contend with.
The skills shortage is something that affects every company in every sector, and I strongly believe that as individual businesses, we should all be doing a lot more to try and ease the crisis.
One solution to tackling this growing crisis is apprenticeships – training up young workers and giving them the opportunity to learn about the industry while earning a living.
In the past year, we’ve taken on five new apprentices, taking on roles in HR, manufacturing and engineering.
The most recent hire, Liam Birch, has taken on the role of Digital Marketing Apprentice, and has been tasked with maintaining the Dekko brand through online social channels by creating unique content that reflects the business and the premium products and services we provide.
While we’ve all been stretched due to increased demand, at the same time, an ageing workforce is retiring, and we’re just not getting enough skilled workers in to replace them, and with fewer people coming into the industry with the necessary skills to keep it growing, one of the biggest challenges we face to keep the industry driving forward is this skills shortage.
Attracting the younger generation to the industry is vitally important, something we at Dekko are determined to achieve in the coming years.
It’s our goal to limit the impact of the skills gap on our customers as much as possible, and one proven way to do this is with our apprenticeship programme, which we plan to expand on in the coming years.
The skills gap is of course a very daunting prospect, but I believe that by working together, planning ahead and investing in the right people, we as an industry will overcome it and come back bigger and stronger than ever before.
For more information, call 0161 406 0055 or contact us online.
From our state-of-the-art factory in Lancashire, our products are transported to installers across the UK. We strive to meet all delivery deadlines to ensure our customers are never delayed. They stock an extensive range of PVCu and ancillary products to give installers easy and convenient access to all the necessary hardware.Contact Us