The skills and experience of older workers in construction are being wasted according to a damning new report.
The Chartered Institute of Building has released results on its latest survey Exploring the impact of the ageing population on the workforce and built environment
The research found that construction companies are missing a trick when it comes to passing skills down to the next generation of workers. And the problem is being exacerbated by a lack of training for new recruits.
Bridget Bartlett, Deputy Chief Executive of the CIOB said: “As our own research tells us, skills shortages in construction are compounded by those entering the industry not being suitably qualified for the position.
“We should take this opportunity to use older workers to tap into their skills and knowledge and ensure they are passed onto the next generation.”
The report added: “Retaining ageing workers’ knowledge and skills is crucial, and the report sends a clear message to policy makers and industry leaders: to be successful, construction needs to see far greater investment and recognition of ageing workers.”
Only 63% of firms said mentoring of younger workers but experienced colleagues was a regular feature of their companies. Respondents highlighted the difficulties obtaining high-calibre staff to deliver and participate in such schemes.
Employers are warned that they need to do more to retain older workers with 19% of the construction workforce set to retire in the next five to ten years. This will involve retraining and repurposing jobs to retain older workers.
But the CIOB warned “this not be considered a substitute for investing in training, and should work hand-in-hand to help alleviate the ongoing skills crisis.” Bartlett said: “If construction is to meet the skills crisis it faces and fill the 224,000 vacancies needed by 2019, employers should look to take additional steps to overcome the skills shortages they incur by reaching out to older workers.
“There is a huge opportunity to showcase to both young and old members of the workforce that construction isn’t all hard hats and hi-vis and that off-site opportunities are aplenty.
“We demand technical skills as much as manual skills.”