Over 60% of construction companies struggling to recruit skilled workers - survey

One third of those surveyed said they believe young talent is emigrating from Ireland
Over 60% of construction companies struggling to recruit skilled workers - survey

Muireann Duffy

Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of construction companies are struggling to recruit skilled workers, impacting the country's ability to meet current building demand.

A report from Autodesk Construction Cloud found a shortage of skilled labourers was one of the main issues affecting the construction sector, in addition to the rising cost of materials and sheer scale of demand.

Of those, two fifths of the companies said they were actively recruiting, with the skills shortage impacting businesses of all sizes.

One quarter of the 300 construction firms surveyed said the sector is seen as less attractive than others due to the lack of awareness surrounding career options and roles within construction. A further third believe young talent continues to emigrate from Ireland, exasperating the skills shortage.

With the current issues facing the industry, four in five firms said they are concerned the sector will not be able to meet housing policy targets, including the requirement to build 33,000 homes each year to 2030.

On this, only 20 per cent of those surveyed said they believe housing targets will be met with the current available workforce.

Future plans

Despite the difficulties, 38 per cent said they expect to see revenues increase over the next year.

Over the next two years, 71 per cent said they will place a high priority on training or upskilling existing staff, while 60 per cent will focus on apprenticeships.

Meanwhile, over the next five years, modernisation and emerging technology will remain a low priority for companies, with just one in five saying they will look to explore investment in new methods of construction, such as off-site manufacturing.

"Without the talent pipeline to match needed capacity, there could be implications concerning the industry's ability to meet the demand with the sector currently, across residential and commercial building," Autodesk Ireland's construction sales lead, Brian Roche said.

"However, if the sector adapts a long-term strategy through the launch of a national campaign to promote the value of a career in construction, it can develop a consistent talent stream that attracts new recruits and graduates, empowering a skilled workforce with all the know-how coupled with the most up-to-date digital tools to improve productivity and overall job satisfaction."

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