A “chronic skills shortage” in London is creating a challenge for the growing infrastructure and construction industry as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) warn of the further negative impact of Brexit.
According to the RICS UK construction and infrastructure market survey, 22% of respondents in the industry reported increased workloads during the first quarter of 2017, in comparison to 7% reporting increased workloads during the last quarter of 2016.
The survey suggested a significant increase in the rail, road and energy categories, with private housing and the commercial sector also reporting large growth.
However, 37% of respondents to the survey said a shortage of skilled labour in the capital was becoming a key impediment to further growth, with concerns raised about the quality of available workers.
68% of those who responded to the survey said financial constraints were an issue in London, and 66% cite planning and regulation as an obstacle to growth.
Policy manager at RICS, Geoff White, said: “The increase in workloads and expectations are very welcome.
“The Government’s focus on and investment in infrastructure is showing however, as RICS has been pointing out for a number of years, that a shortage of skilled labour including quantity surveyors will hold back development and growth.
“It stems from short sighted Government policy over the past 10 years and puts more pressure on the future Government to invest more and quickly in construction training and skills.
“This is a major Brexit issue too. RICS estimates EU nationals account for 8% of the industry workforce, which is almost 200,000 workers.
“With UK construction already facing a chronic skills shortage, it could threaten some of the country’s biggest infrastructure and construction projects, as well as their respective pipelines.”
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