Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 22nd March 2017
Companies within the UK’s construction industry could lose as much as 8 per cent of their workforces on average as a result of Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU).
That’s according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which estimates that Brexit could put as many as 176,500 construction sector jobs in jeopardy around the country in the coming years.
Furthermore, the land, property and construction sector accreditation body is concerned that losing access to the European single market will cast a significant degree of uncertainty over roughly £500 billion worth of projects currently in the pipeline throughout the UK.
In light of its own estimates and fears for its industry, RICS has said it wants to see the UK retain post-Brexit access to the single market or else see alternative plans put in place to safeguard the future of the country’s property and construction sectors.
The organisation’s estimates of potential job losses and skills gaps are based on its own data that suggests 8 per cent of all construction sector workers currently operating in the UK are EU nationals.
A recent poll by RICS also found that 30 per cent of construction sector professionals consider an ability to hire non-UK staff as being an important factor in the success of their businesses.
“The UK is already in the grip of a construction skills crisis,” a recent statement from RICS has said.
“While some overseas professionals, such as ballet dancers, are regarded as critical by the UK government, and are therefore prioritised during the visa application process, construction professions have not yet been added to the ‘UK Shortage Occupations List’.
“RICS is warning that this could already be placing the UK’s predicted £500 billion infrastructure pipeline under threat and must be addressed as a priority.”
British prime minister Theresa May recently announced that her government is preparing to trigger Article 50 on Wednesday March 29th, which will officially give notice of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU.
Triggering Article 50 will in theory give Britain a period of precisely two years to effectively and formally take itself out of the EU.