The Plumbing and Heating Industry Skills Gap

The construction industry is facing a skills gap amongst workers, this is a topic that has been covered in recent years but is still an ongoing issue that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

According to Reed, it is estimated that the construction sector currently needs around 158,000 new recruits to fill vacant roles. Since 2014, construction vacancies have increased by 50% while the number of new recruits is trailing behind at just 14%.

Why is the skills gap increasing?

Ageing workforce
The number of workers within the construction industry over the age of 60 is increasing more than any other age group, this is classified as an ageing workforce. The Chartered Institute of Building revealed that nearly two thirds of the workforce are over 35 and the total number of construction workers under the age of 30 has seen the biggest decrease.
The consequences of an ageing workforce are that workers are retiring, or nearing retirement age, at a fast rate; once these workers are retired, they take with them their essential specialist skills.

Lack of diversity
According to City and Guilds, men are more likely to find construction vacancies appealing with only 9% of females declaring that they would consider working within the construction sector.
Research conducted by Go Construct shows that currently only 14% of construction workers are women and as women make up 47 of all employed individuals, the small number of women entering the sector is having a negative impact on vacancies.

Increase in demand for construction
There is also an overall increase in demand for construction jobs that is contributing to the shortage of workers. As a result of covid-19, we have seen a rise in demand for home improvements and there is also the pressure of net zero requirements and large-scale infrastructure projects like HS2 that are all putting pressure on the sector to fill vacant roles.

Decrease in new recruits
The number of new, young professionals entering the construction industry is declining.
Traditionally, apprenticeships have been a successful route into construction for young people looking to start their careers but a 2021 report from City and Guilds revealed that only 13% of school leavers planned to pursue an apprenticeship.
This could be due to the fact that the construction industry is becoming less attractive, in the same report completed by City and Guilds, 71% of respondents would not consider working in construction.

According to The Office of National Statistics 10% of all construction workers are EU nationals and according to Reed, roughly 34% of all construction workers in London are actually from overseas.
Since Brexit, restrictions on the movement of people and the new immigration system came into place the UK has seen an increase in skills shortages.

As these issue look set to continue, we must find new ways to train and expand the workforce. The opportunities are there and there are jobs to be filled but it is clear that something needs to be done to help combat the skills gap and encourage more young people into a career within construction.

APHC offer a range of training courses assist with upskilling of your current workforce: