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New International Construction Survey shows huge demand for skilled labour

21/05/2018
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The latest International Construction Market Survey from UK consultancy Turner & Townsend has painted a positive picture for the global construction industry- one in which there is a growing volume of projects, but with a tightening supply of workers, and skills shortages in certain disciplines.
Of the 43 key markets analysed, 56% are suffering skills shortages within their construction industries.
The report analysed 43 key markets, and found that 56% of these are suffering skills shortages of one form or another.

As a result of rising demand, trade labour wages are becoming a significant factor in overall construction costs across the globe. The report highlights the five most expensive places to build as:
  1. New York.
  2. San Francisco.
  3. Hong Kong.
  4. Zurich.
  5. London.

Global wage rates

The report also highlights the strong regional variations in labour costs:

“The markets with the lowest construction wages are in Africa and India where hourly wages can range from USD 1-3. No longer having the cheapest labour, Chinese construction workers now average USD 5 per hour.”
Average hourly wage (USD) by region.
(Image via Turner & Townsend).

“At the other extreme, workers in New York and Zurich are edging closer to USD 100 per hour, compared to an average labour rate of USD 28 per hour across all regions. Typically, regions with the lowest-paid construction workers tend to have manually intensive methods of construction, whereas regions with more expensive labour look for labour-saving methods of automation to improve their productivity and limit the numbers of staff they have to employ.”

Labour and skills shortages

Growing skills shortages is an issue which has been familiar to the global construction industry for some time. However, this year’s International Construction Survey indicates that the problem has worsened. Overall, 24 of the 43 markets analysed in the survey are suffering from a skills shortage, up from 20 last year. 

With global growth expected to increase over the coming years, thanks in large part to an improvement in the American economy, construction professionals across the globe should be feeling optimistic about the career prospects.

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New International Construction Survey shows huge demand for skilled labour - Time to read 2 min
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