In March FIS ran a snap survey to look at workforce trends in the wake of the new points based immigration system.  The survey reports that 38% of companies are currently experiencing a labour shortage, with over 60% of contractors predicting shortages as work picks up over the summer.  This number increases significantly when we look at the larger companies (those with greater than £5million turnover), here 59% are already experiencing shortages and 74% are predicting worse to come. Dryliners head the list of concerns followed by ceiling fixers, partitions installers, plasterers and carpenters and joiners.

The report shows that the UK finishes an interiors sector remains heavily reliant on EU workers with around half of all companies relying on EU workers for more than 20% of their workforce and 17% of firms reporting that EU workers account for more than 60% of their workforce.

The report also gives insight into employment and use of gangs and agencies in the sector. Across all contractors, 44% of the workforce is employed, 42% work as labour only sub contractors with gangs providing 11% of the contingent workforce and agency workers making up the final 3%.  Again this shifts as we look to the larger (>£5m turnover) sector with employment accounting for 26% of the workforce, labour only sub-contractors 39%, gangs 30% and agency workers providing the final 5%.

Commenting on the numbers FIS CEO, Iain McIlwee stated:

“These numbers are cause for concern and we will keep our focus on supporting the rapid scale up in training infrastructure that is required to meet this seismic shift in the way we are going to need to recruit and manage our workforce going forward.  We will also continue the dialogue with the Home Office to try and get some common sense applied to the process to ensure we can evolve effectively to the new world order dealing with real world problems rather than political concerns and waiting to see what the official data will tell us when the facts are staring us in the face.”

Read the full FIS Statement on Skills Shortages here