Brickie shortages cause concern

A leading construction body has warned that increasing shortages of bricks and bricklayers could threaten future house building plans.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said that the federation’s latest State of Trade Survey, for the first quarter of 2015, had found that half of all small and medium-sized enterprises in the construction sector were finding it difficult to recruit bricklayers.

Mr Berry said on 27 April: “In terms of skills, the ever-growing lack of bricklayers is causing concern. Compared to this time one year ago, more than twice the firms are reporting difficulties recruiting these tradespeople.

“In the short term, many SME house builders may have to rely on migrant labour. To ensure we have an ample supply of skilled workers in the future, the next Government must ensure it sets the right framework in terms of apprenticeship funding and apprenticeship standards.

“Also more construction firms – large and small – need to willingly engage with training. After all, there’s strong evidence to suggest that training apprentices is good for business.”

With key tradespeople in short supply, construction employers may be looking at ways to make their businesses more attractive to prospective employees, as well as taking steps to hold on to key people, reducing recruitment and selection costs in the process.

Employers may find it helpful to start by reviewing employment-related procedures and policies, including job descriptions and the recruitment and selection process – to ensure they employ the right people in the first place – through to appraisal systems, training programmes, opportunities for career progression and communication policies.

Palmers can provide comprehensive employment law services to construction sector employers including reviewing, updating and drafting employment-related documentation, tailored to specific requirements, and advice on issues such as employees’ rights to request flexible working and shared parental leave. We can also advise on and draft employment contracts. For more information, please contact Lara Murray.