Construction plea for roles on 'Shortage Occupation' list

25 January 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

A group of construction bodies has joined forces to call for 18 severe shortage roles in the industry to be added to the government’s Shortage Occupation list.

Nine federations and representative bodies are working together to accelerate recruitment for the roles after research among the members of each organisation identified which are the hardest to recruit for.

The roles are:


The organisations involved in identifying the roles are: Association for Consultancy & Engineering, Build UK, Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), Construction Plant-hire Association, Construction Products Association, Federation of Master Builders, Highways Term Maintenance Association, National Federation of Builders and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

They have recommended that wherever possible steps should be taken to recruit for the roles in the UK, bringing in new workers or upskilling the existing workforce.

However, where this is not possible, they want to see them added to the Shortage Occupation list, which would allow them the be prioritised in future migration from the rest of the world.

Patrick Cusworth, head of policy and public affairs at the CIOB, said: “We recognise that the construction industry in the UK needs to be more ambitious in terms of recruiting, training and developing more people than it currently does.

“However, research has shown that in the short-to-medium term the industry needs to be able to continue to access migrant labour in a number of key professions such as construction and project management and a number of site-based roles.

“If we are to deliver ambitious housing and infrastructure targets and deliver the quality and high standards people expect, then we must ensure that we have the flexibility in place to recruit to these roles, while at the same time taking a longer view on recruitment and retention in the UK construction industry.”

CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “Speaking to companies from across UK construction we have identified some key roles where recruitment is already very difficult, or where it will become so once migration from the EU is reduced post-Brexit.

“We believe that it is crucial that we work together, as an industry and with Government to target these shortage occupations, boosting recruitment and training in the UK, while looking to sensible migration from the rest of the world to meet additional demand.”

And Suzannah Nichol MBE, chief executive at Build UK, said: “Construction projects across the UK are being held back by a shortage of suitable skills. This survey provides vital evidence of the specific roles which must now be considered by the Government for inclusion on the Shortage Occupation list ensuring that we can keep Britain building.”


Ive come from a carpentry back ground and with reference to upskilling a pre existing teams most building companies prefer to keep tradesmen as trades. In short they dont support professional development and attitudes need to change.

Ian Robertson, 26 January 2019

As part of senior management remit, they are to look forward and plan for the companies future business and its requierments.

They are then supposed to implement plans to ensure the companies sustainability and security for the future is assured.

With Skills this would have been , ensuring the skills required are highlighted and fit with the business plan, in particular where the skill sets are short, training and plans to eliminate the short fall should then have been put in place and implemented to ensure the continual viability and security of the company.

To attract further new people to there companies they should have looked at incentives, packages and salaries, as business men are quick to point out, supply and demand generally sets the trends for costs. With limited numbers of labour available in the UK, then the industry has to make itself more attractive than other sectors, this will ensure they can compete in the labour pool available in the UK and attract the right people.

Unfortunately construction companies, don't look at this. The only reason the construction industry is short of labour is due to the industry itself not investing in its own Industry, its not up to goverment to ensure the correct skills are available to sustain construction companies, its up to the companies themselves, to ensure there company has everything it needs for its future business model !

For the industry to state there is a shortage of 18 occupations (which doesn't leave much left) seems to me that the industry has forgotten to plan and invest in its own future.

Stephen McGowan, 28 January 2019

If the politicians (of all parties) stopped using the construction industry as a political football, and gave workers secure jobs instead of seeing them as casual workers, young people might see the industry as a future prospect for themselves.
Additionally, when employers finally wake up to the fact that they ALL need to train apprentices, instead of waiting for someone else to do it, they may have the 'Skilled' workforce they keep saying they need.

RoyA, 28 January 2019

The construction Industry needs to start training people of all ages in the UK and not expecting the government to bail them out. Just trying to get support to just attend training is awful. If you join a company you should be offered proper training. not in house certificates. then if they need to recruit from outside ok.

nigel nash, 28 January 2019

As long as workers coming in from overseas do not get paid lower than a UK trades or professional person gets. We have had this situation with EU Nationals working for wages well below the UK average, thus taking UK jobs.

Graham Skeer, 28 January 2019

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