Research has shown that more than 80% of workers in the construction industry feel that Brexit will have a damaging impact on the UK’s industry and could stop high-profile government infrastructure projects being completed. A new study carried out by Researchers at Birmingham City University has been looking into the views of those working in the construction industry to gage whether they believe that jobs, projects and the industry as a whole will be affected by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
The study has shown that 88% of the workers felt that the UK relied upon the EU as a source of skilled labour. 82% felt that by leaving the EU, there would be a collapse of a number of infrastructure projects. Because of the demand for skilled workers in the industry, and the reliance upon the EU to supply the workers to meet the UK’s needs, 86% of the workers spoken to as a part of this survey said that a rise in the demand for skilled workers is expected.
In line with these responses, 92% of construction workers thought that the freedom of movement would be beneficial to the construction industry in the UK. These responses have been collected from more than 50 businesses in the industry who gave feedback for the research project. One of the respondents in the research said that Brexit will make the current skills crisis significantly more intense and could then have a knock on effect on the costs of labour and therefore the costs of projects.
The research carried out by the team at Birmingham City University is titled ‘Brexit: measuring the impact upon skilled labour in the UK construction industry’. The research as first formed as a part of a final year Honours Research Project (Dissertation). Since being finished, the research has been published in a leading scientific peer-reviewed research journal, the International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation.
The research looks into a topical and historically unprecedented situation that is, at the moment looming over the UK construction industry. The paper also includes a number of recommendations to ease the strain on the number of skilled workers. These suggestions include retaining the free movement of workers by remaining in the European Economic Area, keeping current workers in the industry by offering increased wages and guaranteed overtime as well as reducing the physical exertion needed with the increased use of technology.