Are younger workers the answer to a skills shortage?
Construction industry businesses are being encouraged to employ more young people to alleviate a skills shortage caused by an ageing working population. According to the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) the total number of workers over the age of 60 has increased more than any other age group, whilst the under 30s have shown the biggest reduction.
However, does this mean that construction companies are loosing the valuable experience of older workers? According to the CITB, over the next 10 years 20% of the workforce will retire, approximately 406,00 people. .
As the UK prepares to leave the EU, the question of whether workers from other countries will be able to continue to work here post Brexit could begin a battle to retain and attract new staff. Future growth depends on being able to find skilled workers, and this is no longer a certainty in the recent political climate.
School and College leavers would be the obvious choice to take their place, and with apprenticeships and work schemes becoming ever more popular, the skills shortage looks like it can be plugged. However, the Government are encouraging more people in their 50s and 60s to work longer. Work and Pensions secretary Damian Hinds said that in 2010 1 in 4 of the working population was aged 50 and over, and this is projected to increase to 1 in 3 by 2022. By 2035 people aged 50 and over will comprise half of the UK adult population.
Younger workers can bring a freshness and innovation, a need for change, while older works bring decades of experience and knowledge. This would be lost, and it would take a long time for a new recruit to build up the required skill set.
Long term plans need to be put in place to ensure that skills shortages are kept to a minimum, and companies find ways of bringing in new employees whilst doing all they can to retain those who have worked for most of their lives. Construction is a fast moving and ever changing employment sector, with may different facets and career paths. Encouraging the younger generation into the fold whilst the lure of a career in the ever expanding technology sector keeps them interested will be something that the construction industry needs to be on top of.