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Britain faces growing skilled tradesmen crisis (From The Daily Mail June 13th)

12 Dec
Britain faces growing skilled tradesmen crisis (From The Daily Mail June 13th)

The Uk is facing a growing shortage of tradesman and women following a dramatic fall in the number of plumbers and bricklayers, new research reveals today. Making it increasingly important to source your tradesmen from a good service.

Figures for skilled tradesmen plummeted by seven per cent in the last year alone after being badly hit by the economic downturn and depressed housing market.

Independent businesses are dwindling and plumbers have been the worst hit, with a 25 per cent drop in numbers the last four years

Bricklayers are down 19 per cent, window cleaners by 18 per cent, and the number of joiners has fallen by 17 per cent in the last three years, the UK's biggest small business insurance provider Simply Business found.

Only cleaners, chimney sweeps and female-run businesses are bucking the trend, the findings from more than 300,000 small businesses show.


Output in the construction industry has plunged to its lowest level since 2009, figures demonstrate.

And the amount we're paying tradesmen for home improvements has nosedived by 40 per cent since 2001.

Ex-bricklayer, Scott Ogden, 37, left the building trade to become a tour manager for a recording company.

Mr Ogden, who works for All Inn Records, said: 'I got into the building trade after leaving school because it was quite a well-paid job at the time.

'But during the recession, everything changed. Tradesmen suffered a 40 per cent pay cut while also taking on more responsibilities.

'You always feel like a dispensable employee without any rights - you don't know whether you'll have a job from one day to the next and I would rarely work a full week.

'The situation made me realise that I wanted a job where I was respected, doing something I am really passionate about.

'I now work as a tour manager and as a Reiki healer on the side. My new career suits my personality and interests so much more than bricklaying.

'The change has transformed how I feel about working and I definitely have no regrets so far.'

Despite the dip, there's evidence that female-run businesses are on the rise, with the proportion of female-led bricklaying businesses up 16 per cent.

Window cleaning businesses run by women are up 10 per cent, building businesses by eight per cent and painter and decorator businesses up five per cent.

The cleaning trade is prospering, up by 33 per cent since 2009, as more people find the time to clean their own homes.

Chimney sweeps have also seen a revival, with a four per cent rise over the last three years, which could be thanks to the rising popularity of open fires.

Jason Stockwood, CEO of Simply Business said: 'Independent tradesmen provide a vital, often highly-skilled service to both home owners and the commercial industry.

'It is therefore worrying to see a decline in some trades over recent years, as the slow economy has hit spending on infrastructure and home improvements.

'However, there are tentative signs of recovery this year with house prices and confidence on the up.

'But with Government spending on infrastructure and housing slow to materialise, commercial construction could be in for a more drawn-out recovery.


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