QS shortages at highest level since 2008

Aaron Morby 7 years ago
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Industry expectations about future workloads have now regained the ground lost after the Brexit vote.

According to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors construction market survey both employment and workload expectations over the next 12 months have recovered to pre-referendum levels.

But returning confidence has also seen a spike in shortages of quantity surveyors with two thirds of respondents highlighting a gap.  This is the highest figure since 2008.

Jeremy Blackburn, RICS Head of Policy, said: “Many firms are currently having to bring construction professionals in from outside the UK. 

“The lack of quantity surveyors consistently apparent in our survey is also underscored by the fact that, at the moment, under the government’s Shortage Occupation List, it is easier to employ a ballet dancer than a quantity surveyor. 

“Even if we were to reverse this and also ensure that through Brexit we maintain access to EU workforce, we would still have a domestic shortfall of skills.

“The Industrial Strategy is a golden opportunity to align education, training and employer work paths – along with modern methods of construction – to ensure we have the skilled workforce to meet our building targets.”

While the survey data is now broadly positive, chartered surveyors continue to highlight uncertainty surrounding the departure from the EU to be dampening investment and activity.

The latest Q4 survey saw workload expectations over the next 12 months recover with +57% more expecting an increase than a decrease. This follows a +49% and +23% reading in Q3 and Q2 respectively.

RICS confidence

Over the next twelve months, surveyors continue to expect the road and rail sub categories of infrastructure to post the most significant increases in construction output at the national level.

Regionally, expectations for growth in railway output lead the way in London, the North West, Yorkshire & Humberside, Wales and the West Midlands. Meanwhile, expectations for growth in road construction activity come out on top in all other areas of the UK.

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