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Five Ways the Labor Shortage in Construction is Affecting Businesses in the UK

If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur in the construction industry in the United Kingdom, then you’re undoubtedly well aware of the ongoing labor shortage. However, you may not be aware of all the ways this shortage affects your business. Here are five of the most significant ways the construction labor shortage affects businesses in the UK.

Rising Costs in Construction Projects

Construction projects are costly. It’s estimated that a building would cost around $600 per square foot in the United States. It could cost the same around in the United Kingdom. Here’s a breakdown of that cost:

  • Materials: 30%
  • Labor: 20%
  • Equipment: 15%
  • Overhead and general expenses: 35%

With the current labor shortage, the cost of construction projects is on the rise. The price of materials has increased by 3%, while the labor cost has gone up by 5%. With the labor shortage comes an increase in wages, as businesses are forced to compete for a limited pool of workers. This increase in cost is being passed on to customers in the form of higher prices for construction projects.

Project Delays

Project delays were common during the pandemic. However, it has been further exacerbated by the current labor shortage. The lack of workers has resulted in a backlog of projects, which has led to delays in the completion of construction projects. Sometimes, these delays can be significant, lasting several months or even a year. It affects not only the businesses waiting for their projects to be completed but also the customers waiting to occupy the space.

In some cases, businesses have been forced to put their construction projects on hold due to the labor shortage. This can be costly, as companies are still required to pay for the materials and equipment that have already been purchased for the project. In other cases, businesses have used lower-quality materials to save on costs. Unfortunately, this can affect the quality of the finished product and result in dissatisfied customers.

Lower Quality of Work

In many cases, businesses are forced to hire workers who are not adequately qualified for the job simply because there are no other workers available. This can lead to subpar workmanship and, in some cases, dangerous working conditions.

A worker experienced a construction site incident

Increased Accidents

With more unqualified workers on site, there is a greater chance of accidents and injuries. This can lead to legal action against the business and higher insurance premiums. The average cost of a single construction incident is around $35,000. So if you have five accidents in a year, that’s an additional $175,000 you’re paying out from your project’s pockets.

Struggle to Find New Talent

With so many businesses competing for a limited pool of workers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies to find and attract new talent. This can make it difficult for businesses to grow and expand their operations.

The labor shortage in construction is having a significant impact on businesses in the UK, with costs rising and lower quality work as a result. If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur in construction, it’s essential to be aware of these impacts so that you can take steps to mitigate them. You should also start implementing these things to avoid the current labor shortage in construction:

Training and Testing

The very first thing you should consider is training and testing your current workers. This will ensure that they are adequately qualified for the job and help to avoid accidents and injuries on site. Here are a couple of things you should consider when it comes to training and testing your employees:


If you want to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries on your construction site, you should consider requiring all your employees to take the CSCS exam. The CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) is a test that all workers must pass to work on a construction site.

The test covers various topics, including health and safety, first aid, and fire safety. By ensuring that all your employees are adequately trained and certified, you can help avoid accidents and injuries on site.

Operative Training Scheme

Another option for training your employees is the Operative Training Scheme. This scheme is designed to provide workers with the skills and knowledge they need to work safely and efficiently on a construction site.

The scheme covers various topics, including health and safety, manual handling, and work at height. Completing this training will better equip your employees to work safely and avoid accidents.


Another way to find and attract new talent is to offer apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are a great way to provide young people with the training and skills they need to enter the construction industry.

Not only will you be helping to address the labor shortage, but you’ll also be investing in the future of your business. By offering apprenticeships, you can ensure that you have a pipeline of talent for years to come.

Construction is an essential industry, and the labor shortage significantly impacts businesses in the UK. If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur in construction, it’s vital to be aware of these impacts so that you can take steps to mitigate them. For example, implementing things like training and apprenticeships can help you avoid the construction industry’s current labor shortage.

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