A survey of Build UK members has found that the shortage of skilled labour has become more severe since Brexit, despite the EU referendum outcome not having an immediate slowdown in work for UK contractors overall.
The survey shows that in the three months following the referendum, labour costs are on the rise and there has been a significant increase in the number of contractors unable to bid for jobs because they cannot afford the workforce.
At the end of June, the UK voted in favour of leaving the European Union in a referendum and while it will be at least two years before the UK actually leaves the EU, there is still uncertainty about what the impact will be in the end.
Trade deals will need to be put in place that will determine the extent the UK will continue to support the free movement of people and goods.
Build UK’s state of trade survey for Q3 of 2016, covering the months straight after the referendum (July to September) show that while members of Build UK saw their workloads increase immediately after the vote, there were more and more difficulties in recruiting skilled operatives.
However, the survey does not shed any light on whether the result of the referendum may have in any way contributed to the recruitment problems recently experienced by the construction industry.
An unrelated report from brokers Willis Towers Watson on the implications of Brexit for the UK construction industry states that the industry is currently relying on foreign labour from within the EU, with migrant workers currently filling around 12% of the 2.9 million UK construction jobs.
The Build UK survey does show that labour shortages stopped a quarter of contractors from bidding for work during the third quarter of this year, a number that has increased from 16% in Q2.