Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris this week addressed the National Economic Dialogue on the skills shortages facing the economy and shone a spotlight on Skills Shortages in Construction which he noted as an industry that faces particular challenges in recruitment.
Minister Harris outlined plans to develop a new pact with businesses across the country to address the issues and to publish a new literacy plan in the summer months.
Skills Shortages in Construction
Minister Harris said:
“The pandemic has accelerated changes to the way we live and work, with a direct impact on the labour market.
“Our work shows the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy have impacted certain cohorts of workers – female, younger – to a greater extent and specific attention will need to be paid to these cohorts in the post-COVID recovery.
“It is vital as we seek to rebuild post-pandemic that people are retrained and reskilled in areas where there are skills shortages or in areas where there will be economic growth.
“Work by SOLAS has found over half of science, engineering and technology companies are having difficulty in recruiting software developers, designers, engineers and technical support staff.
“A third of those involved in construction are facing challenges in recruiting quantity surveyors, civil engineers, site engineers, scaffolders and pipe layers.
“This is in stark contrast to 4% of companies facing difficulties in recruiting accountants and 9% finding it difficult to recruit those in transport and storage.
“It is clear there is a skills mismatch which we need to try and fix. It is critically important Government and industry focus now on the areas where we need people and talent.
“We must acknowledge this last 18 months did not affect us all the same. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerable groups have experienced increased disadvantage.