The Route Out Of This Skills Shortage Lies In Changing The Construction Industry’s Image 

21 October 2022

A survey produced by the organisers of the United Kingdom’s Construction Week in Birmingham, which runs this year from the 4th to the 6th of October, has concluded that a key aspect in solving the current skills shortage is rehabilitating the industry’s image. 

With over 1100 industry professionals surveyed, ranging from architects to engineers, builders and contractors, the survey found that over a quarter of respondents felt that part of the solution to fixing the skills gap lay with “better advice” at a school and college level, so that students were presented with a more attractive picture of the construction industry. 

Dirty Jobs No More 

While much has been done over the years to turn construction jobs into lucrative prospects for both school leavers and graduates, many among us – 23%, to be exact – still look at construction as a collection of ‘dirty jobs’ with few progression opportunities.  

However, that’s not all – respondents also highlighted several other features, such as lack of funding and the predisposition of the industry to be a male-dominated work environment, as key barriers to young people looking to pursue a career in construction. 

Nathan Garnett, UKCW Birmingham’s event director, says:  

“Our survey is a clarion call to both the government and construction sector, and outlines what we need to change if we are to tackle the skills crisis we currently face. We plan to use our event in just two weeks’ time to set out some of the solutions that our survey points to so we can create real culture change.” 

While over a quarter of respondents highlighted the industry’s tangible results and the variety of tasks on the day-to-day as some of the best things about working in construction, 57% also thought the skills gap had worsened in the last two years, with ‘the great resignation’ (19%), uncertainty (17%), and long lead times and the rise of materials and product costs (17%) being the principal causes. 

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:  

“As we continue to work hard to supercharge our region’s economic recovery, the construction sector will play a key role. Many of our young people – and indeed local job seekers of all ages – have recognised that joining this industry can offer an exciting, practical and well-paid career path for those willing to grasp the opportunity. However, it’s clear from the survey that we have more work to do to change perceptions and highlight the positive side of this booming sector which will shape the West Midlands for many years to come.”  

When asked what they think the industry will look like in 2050, the most popular responses included ‘a more diverse/female workforce’, ‘more use of AI’; ‘increase in mechanisation/robotics’, and ‘it will be more lucrative and attractive to graduates’, which gives a clear indication of what aspects workers’ believe need prioritisation. 

What does this mean for you?  

While many companies may still be struggling to find the right skilled staff for their projects, getting the right equipment on-site – on time! – shouldn’t be added to the long list of headaches. 

That’s why relying on a service like PAL Hire will take a big chunk of that stress off. With PAL Hire, you have a partner by your side that enables you to access the UK’s largest network of equipment hire depots – meaning that every item of hired equipment you might need to operate can be managed for you.  

One call to PAL Hire unlocks the ability to focus on a project, as we look after every aspect of the hire. From booking to checking ETA’s (to triple check equipment arrives when you need it) and arranging collection when the hired-in equipment is no longer needed, you can rely on us to sort it out.   

Looking for a hassle-free project that doesn’t have you tearing hairs out of your head? Call our head office for a quote on 0161 482 6200 – PAL Hire Equipment Hire Done Differently.