As part of its latest State of the Trade Survey, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has found that the construction skills shortage has now spread beyond bricklayers and carpenters.
In fact, construction firms are finding it difficult to attract tradesmen such as roofers, electricians and plasterers, with 40 per cent of the 15 trades monitored by the FMB showing that the skills shortage is at its highest level since 2013.
Working to tackle the skills gap is a key challenge for our industry and something we take very seriously at Jewson, both in how we work to support the wider industry, and how we attract and retain our employees.
In 2016, we welcomed 100 people into Jewson via work placements as part of our partnership with Street League, the UK’s leading sport for employment charity. It’s a great way to get young people into the construction industry and as a business we’ve really benefited from their energy and enthusiasm. For 2017, we’re looking at extending this partnership to cover more areas and, hopefully, welcome even more young people into the Jewson team.
We also developed our Foundation Plus account, to ensure young people who are just starting out in a construction career receive the support and advice they need, as well as championing their work as part of our Young Tradesperson of the Year competition.
Attracting and retaining people
We’ve also been working to make sure we’re supporting and rewarding our current colleagues. We’ve recently increased our employees’ hourly rate of pay ahead of the Government’s introduction of the National Living Wage in April 2017. The minimum rate of pay for workers over aged 25 will be increasing from £7.20 per hour to £7.50 as of the 1st April 2017. We welcome this move from the Government and we’ve actually decided to go above this rate, paying our employees at least £7.80 per hour and we’re extending our wage increase to all employees over the age of 21.
We have a range of initiatives in place, and we’re working hard to identify what else Jewson and the construction industry can be doing to tackle the ongoing skills crisis.
Helen Hardy, HR Director at Jewson