CIOB: Skills shortages still a concern for faltering construction industry

Results from the 2013 skills audit from the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) indicate that the construction industry is still suffering from skills shortages.

82% of construction professionals who took part highlight the lack of skilled domestic construction personnel. Respondents cite the scarcity of high quality training and investment from both government and industry as being responsible for the skills shortage.

The 2013 report centres on the prevalence of skills shortages, apprenticeship recruitment and whether the industry is ready for new skills in initiatives and technologies relating to the Green Deal and Building Information Modelling (BIM).

Apprenticeships were identified by 90% of the sample as vital in plugging skills gaps within the industry. Encouragingly, respondents report an increase, compared to the 2011 CIOB skills survey in the number of organisations recruiting more apprentices (7%).

Further to this – of those that recruit apprentices – 58% indicate that apprenticeship training lasts 2 or more years. Of these recruits, 72% are offered permanent employment within the organisation past their scheduled training.

Michael Brown, Deputy Chief Executive at the CIOB said, “It is encouraging that there are still a number of construction companies taking on apprentices, particularly when many are suffering with reduced margins and workloads. Moreover, it is positive to see the construction industry delivering long-term apprenticeship training, with many being offered further opportunities to build upon these skills.”

41% of the sample believes that the construction workforce over the course of 2013/14 will decrease, as opposed to 18% believing the workforce will increase. This is reinforced with 53% of respondents indicating that their organisation has made redundancies in the past year.

44% of respondents felt that the construction workforce are not equipped with the right skills mix to take forward the Green Deal. 66% see a real need in training in order to build a green-focused workforce. Furthermore, shortages are evident in BIM with 59% stating that the workforce does not have the skills needed to work with BIM and 78% see training as a core issue.

“Initiatives and schemes such as BIM and the Green Deal are fast gaining traction within the industry. With the Government mandating Level 2 BIM as a minimum by 2016 companies risk being left behind unless they invest in training in order to join this movement” commented Michael Brown.

The report highlights the need to attract new talent and incentivise careers in construction. With new opportunities in BIM and the green agenda, now is the perfect time for government and the industry to work together and change some of the perceptions around the nature of the industry.

A full copy of the report as well as other research is available to download at –

Key Statistics:

·         1,346 respondents.

·         Majority are CIOB members.

·         82% believe a skills shortage exists in the construction industry, a 5% increase from the 2011 survey.

·         80% point towards the economic climate and a lack of skilled UK domestic construction personnel as the causes.

·         41% of respondents expect the construction workforce to decrease in 2013/14

·         82% are concerned there may not be enough skilled construction personnel available when construction needs them.

·         66% see either a fairly urgent or very urgent need for training in the Green Deal.

·         59% do not think that the workforce will have the required skills for Building Information Modelling (BIM).

·         78% think that BIM training is either fairly urgent or very urgent.

·         41% stated their organisation was actively recruiting apprentices.

·         58% of apprenticeships in the construction industry last 2 years or more.

·         72% of those organisations recruiting apprentices move into permanent positions within the company.

·         90% felt that apprenticeships are part of the answer to fixing skill gaps in the UK construction industry.

·         53% indicated their organisation had made redundancies in the last 12 months.

·         46% think that a lack of investment from industry and government are the biggest threat to the future skills agenda in the construction industry.



The Chartered Institute of Building is at the heart of a management career in construction. Our focus is on those entering and already in a management career in construction. By delivering qualifications and certifications that meet the needs of a changing industry.

We work with members, employers, academia and governments across the globe to drive forward the science, practice and importance of management in construction. Further information is available by contacting Saul Townsend on or +44 (0) 1344 630 766.

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