One in four subcontractors turning down work

Aaron Morby 4 years ago
Share

The number of specialist contractors struggling to recruit skilled labour is at its highest for 14 years according to the latest trade body survey.

As a result of the yawning skills gap over a quarter of firms say they are being forced to turn down work.

The alarming findings are highlighted in the latest National Specialist Contractors Council state of trade survey.

The capacity squeeze has hit home after significant increases in both enquiries and orders.

During the first quarter two thirds of specialist subcontractors reported an increase in enquiries, up 27% on the previous quarter, and just over half reported a rise in orders.

But nearly half of all specialists surveyed experienced more difficulty in recruiting skilled labour this year compared to just 2% who found it less difficult.

The balance of recruitment difficulty, measured as the difference between those reporting more and less difficulty, reached its highest level since 2001 because of a lack of applicants with required skills.

This skills shortage meant 28% of firms complained they were unable to bid for work, which is higher than at any time since the recession.

The skills crisis is continuing to impact on prices. A record 54% of respondents experienced an increase in tender prices last quarter, which has doubled since this time last year.

Suppliers’ prices are also rising in line with demand with 82% of specialist contractors seeing higher prices from their suppliers for the second quarter in a row.

Any uncertainty in the run up to last week’s election appears not to have undermined the confidence of specialist contractors with 65% anticipating an increase in workload in the next quarter and a record 78% anticipating an increase over the coming year.

NSCC chief executive Suzannah Nichol said: “The growing construction market is great news for specialists contractors but we need to tackle head-on the skills crisis that is facing the industry.

“If we do not invest in recruiting and training people with the right skills, the industry will not be able to meet demand and this will impact on the wider UK economy.”

Latest news

Van Elle profit warning after “challenging” quarter

Lower margin contracts drag down performance as restructuring continues
3 hours ago

Balfour boss in Brexit blast at Chancellor

Leo Quinn highlights construction's fears in conference call with ministers
3 hours ago

Union demands “period dignity” on construction sites

Multiplex first contractor to sign-up with campaign for better site toilets
1 hour ago

Wates wins £90m post-Grenfell reclad job

Work to start this summer on five tower blocks at North London's Chalcots Estate
4 hours ago

Construction forecasters bet on delayed soft Brexit

Crystal ball gazers believe UK will avoid workload fall with sluggish growth in 2019
4 hours ago

Plan for £300m Lincolnshire power station

Czech power firm plans energy from waste plant next to South Humber Bank power station
4 hours ago

Fitzgerald returns Bovis Homes to record profits

Margins restored and completions up 3% after 18-month turnaround
3 hours ago

Late payment bill boosts calls for project bank accounts

Second reading due as MP fights to protect subcontractors from Carillion-style collapses
20 hours ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
9 months ago

Plant hire giant Hawk falls into administration

Administrators pledge to keep kit working on site as they look for a buyer
2 days ago

HS2 forces firms to use least polluting trucks and plant

Rail project raises bar to exceed London emission standards
1 day ago

Watkin Jones hits record profits as pipeline grows

Firm enjoys three-year pipeline of 24 student rooms and build to rent sites
1 day ago

South Eastern Electrical went down owing £4m to suppliers

Contracts sold by administrators to associated company SEE Rail
1 day ago

Carey wins £16m Stratford Waterfront civils package

Cladding and mechanical packages will come up for bid in next three months
1 day ago

Mace confirmed for £350m Paddington Cube

Erith, Keltbray, J Coffey and Getjar chase basement contract
2 days ago

Skanska Costain JV starts Euston Station HS2 demolition works

McGee will demolish two office towers over 10 months
2 days ago

Forrest collapsed owing £28m to unsecured creditors

Administrator warns even secured creditor banks will lose much of £17m they are owed
2 days ago

Calls grow for Carillion action one year after collapse

Trades union claims regulators have failed to do their job and calls for a criminal investigation
2 days ago

Shareholders pushing for Kier chiefs to be ousted

Investors want changes at executive team
2 days ago

McL&H lands London’s longest river pier build

Piling to start this week for Thames Royal Wharf Pier
2 days ago

Kier to start £100m Ascot hospital

Construction to start on new Heatherwood Hospital
2 days ago

Collinson appoints ex Willmott Dixon boss as chairman

John Frankiewicz takes up new role at Preston based construction division
2 days ago

BAM Farrans JV wins £120m Great Yarmouth bridge

Work to start on lifting bridge towards the end of next year
6 days ago

Costain bags bundled A19 junction upgrades for £125m

Price agreed for North East double junction upgrades
5 days ago

Vinci go-ahead for £91m Exeter student campus

Work to start on 1,180-room student scheme at Streatham Campus
5 days ago

Track worker dodges train strike by two seconds

Two night-time near misses reported in December
6 days ago

Sir Robert McAlpine wins London Inner Temple revamp

June start date for Project Pegasus Treasury Building upgrade
6 days ago

Site demo wins unpaid Christmas wages for sparks

Direct action by electricians and Unite secures payment
5 days ago

Urban Splash clinches Wirral Waters modular homes deal

£55m housing venture with Peel will see 357 modular homes erected
6 days ago

Crossrail costing £30m a week as delays continue

Previous management team were "overwhelmed by the complexity" of project
7 days ago

Contractor services