Shortage of skills could slow down Manchester’s property boom

There is a skills shortage in the construction industry and this could affect the Manchester property market, suggested a Manchester Evening News article last month.

Visitors to Manchester city centre see many tower cranes working on more than 30 major new construction projects. There is, however, a shortage of plasterers, project managers and joiners and this is affecting construction projects. The skills shortage is also putting wages up and making commercial property construction less profitable.

There is no shortage of both UK and overseas investors that want to construct new commercial property in the city. In 2018, about 1.5 million sq. ft of office space in Manchester has been let to tenants, which was nearly 50% up on 2017. The city particularly attracts tech, media and finance companies who have created a high demand for premium quality new and restored property.

Richard Cooper, of contractors Workman has summarised what needs to be done about the shortage of skilled workers:

“New qualification programmes are needed to bring in skills, for example, innovative cladding development, to support the new economy. The traditional skills such as bricklaying are quickly becoming a trade off with the repairs sector.”

The government has introduced several initiatives to encourage the training of more apprenticeships, but construction companies want greater value to be placed on vocational qualifications. The construction industry is working to promote the attractiveness of career opportunities in construction.

Modular systems that use off-site manufacturing such as those produced by Urban Splash could make a difference too.