The results of the third cross-industry ‘People Survey’, carried out by Build UK on behalf of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) in April, have now been published. Providing an up to date snapshot of the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the construction workforce, Maintaining Employment in Construction indicates that there will be a reduction of 1.2% in the size of the workforce by July. However, the number of apprentices employed is expected to increase by 2.7 % over the next three months, and the number of graduates taken on this September is expected to be 17% higher than last September.

Listed up front in the report the data highlights the following:

  • A small number of job losses is expected over the next three months
  • Anticipated change in the workforce for specialist contractors between April and July 2021 11.4%
  • There is anticipated to be a slight reduction in the number of EU workers
  • Overall the number of apprentices employed is expected to increase over the next three months
  • The number of graduates taken on this September is expected to be higher than last September
  • On average companies are still expecting to lose a third of their Apprenticeship Levy due to not being able to spend it within the timeframe
  • Most companies have introduced some form of health and safety training related to COVID-19

Commenting on the findings, FIS CEO Iain McIlwee stated:

“With this report it is important to look beyond the headlines, the data and summary provided reflects wider construction and it shows a fairly stable picture.  When we look beyond the surface at the Specialist Contractors, it is a different story.  Plans are to scale the workforce up by over 10% between July and April and that is going to be tough when we know that immigration is tight and we still have the unknown impact of the July Right to Work checks and the Settlement Scheme and travel opening up for people who may not have seen their family for months and be keen to extend their holidays.  At FIS we remain concerned that labour is and will remain short.  The apprentice numbers are encouraging, but a drop in the ocean for our sector where, even if the immigration system has no impact on the existing workforce, our domestic recruitment target doubles.  We need to be conscious of this when planning and pricing work in the coming months and longer term there needs to be a huge cultural change in the way that we recruit and train across the UK.”

Download the results here