How to survive the skills shortage


How to survive the skills shortage amidst a time of uncertainty


It is common knowledge that there is skills shortage within the UK, with some reports having the industry short of 20,000 annually according to Engineering UK’s 2017 State of Engineering Report.[1] Although there are some positives to the report, particularly in the increase in engineering related apprenticeships, degrees in engineering and technology and the popularity of STEM subjects for 11-16-year-olds is increasing. As an industry, there are great strides being made with many organisations including Mattinson Partnership, to popularise these subjects at school and college level.

One of the main issues within the construction and related industries is the lack of experienced professionals at the mid to senior level due to the industry crash in 2008. The demand for skills were at an all-time low and people moved sectors, retired, or emigrated to the booming markets in the Middle East, Australia. These people were often not at risk but worried by the tumultuous nature of the sector. The biggest issue, however, was the lack of apprentice and graduate opportunities available as companies reduced their intakes or students didn’t take construction-related courses, meaning that only today are we now feeling a pinch for candidates with that level of experience. It is now estimated that the UK will lose 700,000 construction professionals in the next 10 years[2] and there will be competition for those remaining amongst employers.

This skills shortage, if further exacerbated by the uncertainties over immigration, would predominantly impact the current Tier 2 scheme where it was revealed 6,000 visas were refused between December 2017 and March 2018[3]. This cap encompassed 3,500 engineering, IT, technology, STEM teaching and medical roles. This included workers who are on the Shortage Occupation List as well as those that have gone through the lengthy process and fulfilled all criteria. Secondly, there is also the current uncertainty over future visas for EU citizens, which in some sectors is creating either a flight risk or preventing people from joining.

What can companies do to assuage these factors?

  • Have a strong retention plan and engagement at all levels. With churn rates across the sector at around 15%, this outweighs most businesses growth plans for 2018
  • Make sure your brand and opportunity stands out in a competitive marketplace
  • Ensure salaries, packages and terms are competitive in their specific market and location
  • Align your current vacancies with future opportunities so applicants have the chance to demonstrate capability early on
  • Be open to encompassing transferable skills and industries for all roles, particularly in niche areas or geographies
  • Have a prompt recruitment process for when talent becomes available

With several decades of recruitment experience from industry, in-house and agency backgrounds, Mattinson Partnership are keen to discuss with business how they are looking to assuage the skills shortage over the next few years.




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London Wildlife Trust.

We are proud partners of The London Wildlife Trust, a charity dedicated to protecting the wildlife and wild spaces of London by driving environmental projects throughout the city. Our team often get involved at ground level in Wild Workdays by helping to maintain and restore treasured spaces and land… we love to get our hands dirty! We also run multiple interactive workshops, providing their conservation trainees with invaluable career advice and insights into the environmental sector to prepare them for employment. Most recently, we worked with young people taking part in their Keeping it Wild programme, which engages young people from backgrounds currently under-represented in nature conservation.

Royal Town Planning Institute.

The RTPI represents planning professionals in the UK and Ireland and aims to encourage the development of vibrant and prosperous places and communities. Our Senior Consultant Freddie enthusiastically attends the annual Planning Convention, and we host several events throughout the year to show our support, including drinks networking and a literal pub quiz. We also keep in close contact with our friends down under, at the Planning Institute Australia and New Zealand Planning Institute. In addition, we sponsor the London Planning Summit, an event designed to address the biggest challenges facing the industry. This is our opportunity to stay on top of the latest changes in town planning by meeting with other key professionals in the sector, while celebrating our achievements.

Land Securities Group Plc.

One of our clients, LandSec, are the clever people behind Girls Can Do It Too, an initiative designed to encourage girls to consider a career in construction. Currently, only 11% of the construction workforce are female, and LandSec are attempting to increase this number by providing education and engagement projects and workshops for girls aged 11-13. Featuring workshops on demolition and tower building, as well as challenging the girls to design a planning project of their own (with a focus on budgeting and environmental considerations), LandSec have proven their dedication to addressing the need for diversity in this very male dominated industry. Ruth assists the project by sharing her fascinating insights into the industry and is even on the project judging panel!

Urban Land Institute.

In partnership with Urban Land Institute we are able to play an imperative role in creating a larger and more diverse pool of candidates within the planning & property professions. Working in schools we take part in the Urban Plan Educational workshops programme, which has now reached more than 2,500 pupils in 100 schools since its launch. Alongside more than 200 industry volunteers engaged across the country, we provide invaluable industry & careers advice to students while guiding them through their workshops and helping judge their presentations.

Carbon Footprint.

Carbon FootprintTM works to help organisations offset their CO2 through tree planting and community projects worldwide. By partnering with Carbon FootprintTM, we have planted native trees and shrubs such as Whitebeam, Hazel, Field Maple, Silver Birch, Rowan, Beech, Blackthorn, Holly and Dog Rose to create a Mattinson Forest that spreads across South East England. Carbon FootprintTM work in conjunction with the Florestal Santa Maria Project (FSM-Redd Project), designed to reduce deforestation in the Amazonian Rainforest. So, for every tree we plant in the UK we guarantee a tonne of CO₂ offset in Brazil too. Carbon FootprintTM have allowed us to not only do our bit for the environment but also commemorate moments of growth for our clients and candidates.