Industry facing pipeline bulge and skills crisis in six months, says KPMG report

The industry in London and the south east could face a severe shortfall of labour and professional skills as early as next April as pipeline schemes come on stream, according to a report by KPMG and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Skills to Build report suggests that the median figure for the labour required to deliver projects in London and the south east in 2014 is 430,706, but that as many as 604,903 could be needed on site to deliver a “bulge” in pipeline projects by April 2015.

The median figure for the labour requirement the whole of 2015 is lower, at 585 852. But – given the industry’s limited training capacity – this still means that construction will be heavily dependent on absorbing labour from other countries.

And as the capacity to train home-grown construction workers is inadequate for 2015 levels of output, the report says that “the further expect future growth in construction output will further exacerbate this deficit”.

“Unless the supply of labour is increased, house building targets will not be met and the delivery of large infrastructure projects will be jeopardised,” the report concludes.

The report says there are training deficits in 23 of the 26 the ONS Standard Occupational Classification codes relating to construction, suggesting that current training does not adequately supply the skills employers need.

The warning comes ahead of an unprecedented industry summit on the issue to be held on 24 November at the QEII conference centre in London on how the industry can find solutions to the training and recrtuiment shortfall. Organised by the CIOB, the Inspiring the Future of Construction conference will hear from key industry figures including Sir John Armitt, chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, and Peter Hansford, the UK government’s chief construction adviser.

Pipeline value of projects in planning by county 2014-2017 (£bn)


Total labour requirement of projects in planning by county 2014-2017


It also highlights particular anomalies in construction skills training, such as the high demand for dry-lining skills and a near absence of training schemes and qualifications for them.

Phil de Montmorency, a coordinator for jobs and skills at the London boroughs of Wandsworth and Lambeth, is quoted as saying: “Our labour forecast indicated that Nine Elms Vauxhall will require nearly 300 dry-liners in the coming years. Yet, existing apprenticeship frameworks dedicate a very small amount of time to dry-lining training, instead focusing on traditional plastering methods.”

Interviews with major contractors also throw light on problems with S106 agreements on jobs and training for local labour, in particular with restrictions on the postcodes where labour where can be drawn from.

Nigel McKay, procurement and Innovation lead for Lend Lease at the Elephant and Castle regeneration said: “Our Section 106 agreement stipulates that trainees should be from Southwark and be previously unemployed. However, there are many other major developers working in the borough, all with the same targets and all fighting for the same people. Given that Lambeth, Greenwich and Lewisham are a short distance away and have people wanting construction work in Southwark, it would make more sense to have a more joined up approach across the London boroughs about S106 targets, based on production capacity within each area.”

The analysis suggests that on average 20% more workers will be required on average to meet pipeline demand in 2014-17 than were needed in 2010-13. But the industry saw 400,000 people made redundant or otherwise leave the industry in the recession, while a further 400,000 are expected to retire over the next five to 10 years.


First published in Construction Manager

Manchester site hoardings slammed as sexist


Screen-Shot-2014-11-05-at-07_08_43The Construction Industry Training Board has slammed site hoardings at a new Manchester hotel as “demeaning” to women.

CITB Fairness,Inclusion and Respcet Manager Kate Lloyd condemned the hoarding around the Malmaison site as “depressing and highly insulting”.

Lloyd’s comments follows criticism from writer Jeanette Winterson, who compared pictures of a model holding power tools to those of “soft-porn babes”.

A Malmaison spokesman told the BBC  it was “meant to be a bit of fun”.

But Lloyd said the images on the hoarding “only serve to set us back”.

She added: “The CITB has for years been challenging stereotypes around women in the industry and trying to encourage females of all ages to consider careers in the sector.”

She said 12% of the construction workforce were women, of whom 1% worked in manual trades.

Lloyd said: “We are missing out on a huge range of talent and skills that the industry would benefit from because construction is still largely seen as a ‘job for the boys’”

Winterson wrote in the Guardian about her “outrage” at seeing the “Mal at Work” hoarding, when staying at the city centre hotel last week.

She said: “Women at work seems to mean wearing a strapless dress and full makeup while staring longingly at a drill that presumably doubles as a vibrator.”

A male model also features on the Malmaison hoarding in Manchester

Winterson said: “He’s all muscle and sweat. He’s a hunk, sure, but the visual message he offers is not confusing to men.

“He’s about power and prowess, muscle and machismo. The hard-hat babes send out a message that aligns with male fantasy not female reality. And that’s a problem.”

The spokesman for the hotel chain said it was “meant to be a bit of fun with both men and women depicted to highlight our construction”.

“No offence was meant and we apologise if it’s been taken the wrong way,” he said.

“It’s made a lot of people smile and not too many frown.”

First Published in Construction Enquirer 

Vince Cable plans to reduce white dominance of boardrooms

Vince CableBusiness secretary Vince Cable is to launch an ambitious plan next month to bring more ethnic minorities into Britain’s most powerful boardrooms, with the aim of eventually having one in every five directors from a non-white background.

The move to advance more black, Asian and other minority representation into senior management roles comes after a successful push to get more women into director positions in large corporations.

Under the plans from Cable, one in five directors of FTSE 100 companies will come from an ethnic minority within five years. It is expected that he will announce the target next month.

The business secretary has consulted with Trevor Phillips , the former chair of the equality and human rights commission and the actor Lenny Henry, to formulate a plan to increase ethnic diversity at board level.

A study of the top 10,000 executives published this year – written by Phillips and Professor Richard Webber, of Kings College London – found that more than half of FTSE 100 firms had no non-whites at board level, and two-thirds had no full-time minority executive directors.

On Wednesday, the government will publish a six-month progress report on the number of women in Britain’s boardrooms. This follows a review by Lord Davies into women in senior positions which began in 2011 and was required by the government to improve female numbers in senior business roles.

Davies set a target of increasing board membership of women to 25% in FTSE 100 companies by 2015. Having started at 12.5%, it stood at 22% in September. The commodity trader Glencore became the final FTSE 100 to appoint at least one woman to its board when Patrice Merrin became a non-executive director in June.

A source close to the business secretary said yesterday: “Vince Cable wanted to encourage a more diverse workforce and the obvious place to start was with women. He thinks businesses make better judgments when they have a diversity of opinions at the top. We feel like we have achieved a huge amount in terms of women and boards, but if you look at diversity in terms of ethnic minorities there is a huge amount of work to do.


“If we thought the problem in terms of female representation was bad, the problem with visible ethnic minorities is potentially even worse because you can count on one hand the number of visible ethnic minority heads of business or people on boards of FTSE companies.”

However, as with the drive for greater female representation on boards, the one-in-five benchmark will represent a target and not a legally binding quota. One of the initiatives that will be promoted in the plan by Cable will be to have a mentoring programme within the corporate structure to enable employees from ethnic minorities to rise through the ranks, according to the Sunday Times. The initiative may later be rolled out to include FTSE 250 businesses.

The move was welcomed by the Institute of Directors. “We have long advocated boardroom diversity, including a broad range of expertise, backgrounds, age, gender and skill sets. Forward-looking businesses recognise the benefits of pursuing this. Where, as with mining companies, an entire sector has historically appointed directors from too narrow a social pool, shareholders are forcing change in the interests of better business. Voluntary efforts to improve gender diversity are proving effective, and this is the model to follow in other areas,” said Simon Walker, IoD director general.

“Skills, business expertise and the climate for progress all need to be doggedly improved across the whole community. This work may be frustratingly slow at times, but ultimately a well-developed pipeline of diverse talent, in all its forms, is the only lasting solution.”

If the moves prove successful, it will result in a proportionately larger number of non-white people on boards compared with the current profile of the population. The 2011 census showed 86% of the population of England and Wales was white while the largest ethnic grouping was Asian or British Asian at 7.5%. The source close to Cable said the rapid growth in ethnic minorities meant those proportions were expected to change significantly within five years.

The report by Phillips and Webber was followed by further research from the charity Business in the Community which found 6% of senior management positions were held by people from ethnic minorities. The charity’s report found 7.9% of management positions were held by black, Asian and minority ethnic people in 2012, compared with 10% in total employment in the UK. The management figures have edged up from 5.5% and 6.8% respectively since 2007. The BITC report called for ethnicity to be added to the UK corporate governance code, which sets out standards of good practice and states: “The search for board candidates should be conducted, and appointments made, on merit, against objective criteria and with due regard for the benefits of diversity on the board, including gender.”

In terms of public profile, Tidjane Thiam of Prudential is one of the most high recognised senior executives from an ethnic minority. He was the first black chief executive of a FTSE 100 company and has served as a government minister in the Ivory Coast, where he was born.

First Published in the Guardian

New Acas guide on Shared Parental Leave

Workplace experts Acas have today published their new guide on shared parental leave (SPL), a new legal right which allows couples to share maternity or adoption leave and pay from 5 April 2015.

Couples finding out now that they are expecting a child will be among the first parents eligible to take advantage of these new rights.

Acas’ new free detailed guide pdf Shared Parental Leave: a good practice guide for employers and employees will help prepare employers and employees for the new changes. It includes a step by step guide on how eligible employees can make an SPL request to their employer and advice for employers on how to deal with SPL requests fairly.

Acas Head of Guidance, Stewart Gee, said:

“Our guide was produced with input from large and small employers, family groups and trade unions and is designed to ensure working parents and employers alike can understand the new shared parental leave arrangements.

“We advise employers and employees to start early with discussions to ensure that they can agree the sort of arrangements which work best for business and working families. We are also running training courses to help employers prepare for the legal changes.”

The Government is introducing shared parental leave and pay for employed parents to make the current system for maternity and adoption leave much more flexible.

According to estimates from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), there are expected to be around 285,000 working couples who will be eligible to share their leave from April.

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said:

“As the Minister responsible for modernising our working culture, I’m delighted that we’re introducing shared parental leave from next April which will let couples choose how to share time away from work to care for their new baby in a way that suits them best. Dads have a key role to play in the early weeks and months of a baby’s life and it is right that the arrangements for parental leave should reflect that.

“The Acas guide will be welcomed by both employers and employees as they prepare for the new system which will help working families and boost economic growth. Shared parental leave is not only good news for parents-to-be, but for employers who will benefit from having a workforce that is more flexible and motivated.”

Under the new system, a pregnant woman will continue to have access to 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 weeks of pay as she does currently but from 5 April, working families will have the opportunity to share this leave.

Sarah Jackson, CEO of Working Families, said:

“Shared parental leave is a significant opportunity for a new generation of parents and for their employers.

“It offers employers a way into an early conversation with their working fathers and gives parents the chance to start their family life together, simultaneously on leave.

“This guidance from Acas will help to start that conversation and provides clear, concise information for employers and employees.”

A key feature of Shared Parental Leave is that it can be taken in several blocks. Eligible parents will be able to make use of a mixture of weeks of work and leave in the first year of their child’s life, returning to work between periods of leave if they wish. A parent with a partner who adopts a child will have the same rights, as will intended parents in surrogacy.

Acas’ full guidance Shared-Parental-Leave-a-good-practice-guide-for-employers-and-employees is available.

Full article can be found on the Acas Website

Gentoo Group supports Sunderland Pride 2014

Gentoo Group was proud to support Sunderland Pride 2014 at the weekend.



Thousands of people turned Sunderland city centre into a carnival of colour as the annual Pride event returned.

This year, Gentoo was named as Stonewall’s 2014’s top gay-friendly employer in their annual Workplace Equality Index which showcases Britain’s best employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff.

Peter Walls, chief executive of Gentoo Group said: “Of course we wanted to make sure we were part of this weekend’s Sunderland Pride. Our vision is to improve the Art of Living for our customers and our staff and as such we were extremely proud to have achieved first place in this year’s Stonewall Work Equality Index 2014. This has never just been a badge of honour for us – it is part of who we are and what we do every day. And what better way to show this by being involved in Sunderland Pride 2014”

Pride chairman Ryan Houston says that it could be the final year the festival is held in Park Lane, Sunderland because of its growing size.

“We’re looking at doing it somewhere else next year, so if this is to be the last time it’s in Park Lane, then it’s a fantastic way to say bye,” said Ryan.

“There’s a real mix of music with pop, indie bands and drag queen performers so it’s very varied and that’s why so many people have turned out.”

Gentoo Group’s whole ethos is about believing nothing is impossible and finding new ways to challenge conventions, Gentoo aims to make society a better place to live and to make a real difference to the way people live their life. To find out more about Gentoo, follow @gentoogroup on Twitter.

First Published on Gentoo Groups Website

2018 to be Year of the Engineer

The government is looking to mark the opening of the £15bn Crossrail project by declaring 2018 the official ‘Year of the Engineer’.


Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced the policy intention in his speech to the Conservative party conference yesterday, although there was scant detail accompanying it.

He said: “We should recognise what brilliant engineers we have in this country. I am immensely proud of what they achieve. And so in 2018 – when Crossrail is complete – I want us to do something special. A year of the engineer – to excite a new generation of Brunels, Stephensons and Telfords.”

2018 will also be the bicentenary of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

First published by The Construction Index

CITB Business Awareness Workshops Schedule




CITB Business Awareness Workshops provide free business advice from CITB, designed for new and growing construction companies.

If you are running a company for the first time, or are looking to improve the necessary skills to make it a success, CITB’s free workshops can help you with the business basics.

Within the UK a high percentage of new companies fail within the first two years. CITB have developed the Business Awareness Workshops to provide you with all the help, advice and guidance you need to survive and thrive, including how you can find out more about the CITB Be Fair Framework and fair working practices for your company.

Designed for today’s economic climate

The workshops are free to CITB registered companies. Delivered by their Company Development Advisors (CDAs), topics include:

  • The importance of understanding your market
  • The options for different types of business status
  • Key legislation affecting your business
  • CITB Levy, products & services
  • Taxation and National Insurance
  • Costs/pricing policies
  • Maintaining a healthy cash flow


Register your interest

To brush up on your business know-how, contact your CDA.

Current Schedule for Workshops


  • 24/09/14           Sunderland
  • 30/09/14          Brighouse
  • 30/09/14          Ellesmere Port


  • 07/10/14          St Albans
  • 07/10/14          Oldham
  • 15/10/14          Northampton
  • 15/10/14          Newark
  • 21/10/14          Brighouse
  • 21/10/14          Penrith
  • 21/10/14          Bristol
  • 23/10/14          Gloucester
  • 23/10/14          Lancaster
  • 29/10/14          Haydock


  • 05/11/14          Norwich
  • 12/11/14          Taunton
  • 12/11/14          Cambridge
  • 18/11/14          Shipton
  • 20/11/14          Newark
  • 24/11/14          Middlewich


  • 10/12/14          Enfield
  • 11/12/14          Bromley

False self-employment: a ticking time bomb?

Chrissi3-300x202The industry is facing tough questions over its use of labour-only subcontractors with terms like “bogus self-employment” and umbrella companies dominating the headlines.

Things have not always been like this, but with the continuation of risk being passed down the supply chain, late payment terms and uncertainty of the recession, subcontractors have adopted any means possible to keep their heads above water.

As a result, they have had to minimise risk and free cash flow wherever possible.

But it is not just the organisations who feel labour-only subcontracting is the right way to go. Many individuals in the industry feel positive about being self-employed – by legal definition, they are not.

Harvey & Behling (2008) determined a number of factors that identified an individual as truly self-employed, which include: defining your own working hours, being able to sub-contract out works and purchasing your own materials.

“Subcontractors have adopted any means possible to keep their heads above water.”

The majority of individuals working on a subcontract basis in the sector fail to achieve these criteria. Of course, while there are some trades, bricklayers in particular, with a long and established history of self-employment, it is important to note that they do satisfy the criteria set by Harvey.

We have an interest in the ones that do not. So why would someone want to be classed as self-employed if they miss out on benefits such as holiday pay, employment rights and employer national insurance contributions?

It is a matter of perception: people like the idea of what self-employment means, even if it doesn’t translate to their actual experience of working in the sector.

For example, I have had this exchange with a number of individuals who identify as self-employed:

Do you like being self-employed? Yes

Why? I can work the hours I want, take time off when I want and leave when I want.

OK, so do you work flexible hours? Well no, I work a 40-hour week, but I don’t have to.

Do you take time off? Yes, I have to put in for holidays a few weeks in advance but they are always accepted.

And can you leave when you want? Yes, I have to give a months’ notice and then I can go.

Would you leave? I doubt it, I’ve been here over 27 years now and I’m quite happy.

These individuals are no better off and receive no benefit from being self-employed. They do not receive holiday pay or other entitlements for protection – provided by law to directly employed people. There is a perception that they are better off, which is at odds with the reality.

This is a problem for individuals and possibly a ticking time bomb for companies.

Not everyone is happy with the false self-employed model. Individuals are increasingly unhappy paying a separate company part of their wages to comply with the law, especially since the HMRC is working hard to reduce the tax breaks that were once an individual’s incentive.

This problem could leave us with a workforce who feel separated from their employers. Ultimately, it is not just about employing someone, rather finding talented individuals who will work hard for you.

People with a choice are making career decisions in other industries that give them basic employment rights. If we continue down this road, as the market picks up, we will find it even harder to find people willing to work in the sector – let alone work hard in it.

So what can we do?

As main contractors look to procure and establish long-term supply chains, we can understand the implications of late payments terms and the effect these have on our subcontractors.

Before the recession, we spent a long time learning how important supply chain management is to our businesses – it is now time to revisit those lessons before the best subcontractors make the choice for you.

For subcontractors, it is time to make some business decisions: you consider the long-term benefits of direct employment alongside the short-term gains of labour-only subcontracting.

“Consider your staff’s identity”

Consider your staff’s identity and employ a stepped approach that educates and supports your staff, providing the choice to remain on a self-employed basis for those who are unhappy with change. Explain the benefits of direct employment and help staff to understand how it affects them.

The CITB Be Fair framework provides a step-by-step guide and includes all the supporting resources you need to create a fair, inclusive and respectful staff environment that will help increase productivity and engagement.

Ensuring employees have the appropriate employment rights is the foundation to improve fairness, inclusion and respect – but it will not provide all the answers.

Once in place, there needs to be opportunities for staff across the business to feel valued and appreciated. This will help ensure that construction is an industry people want to, not have to, work in.

Constructing Equality Awarded First Be Fair License by CITB


Website Be Fair Framework Provider

Constructing Equality Ltd, construction industry equality specialists have become the first Assessment Provider licensed by CITB, the accrediting body and owner of the Be Fair Framework.

Constructing Equality Ltd is licensed to provide assessment and support services UK-wide to construction companies who take on accreditation under Be Fair at Accredited, Bronze, Silver or Gold levels. 

The CITB Be Fair Framework is a construction-specific, action plan and learning-based accreditation framework that recognises fair working conditions, employment practices and behaviours across the construction workplace for all.

It has been written by the industry for the industry, to change the industry; in a way that the industry believes will also change the way we look at equality.

Constructing Equality Ltd Managing Director, Chrissi McCarthy, said:

“We are tremendously proud to be the first Be Fair Licensed Provider for CITB; this is a tool we truly believe can make construction not just a fair workplace for everyone, but also a first choice workplace for everyone.  Being the first to receive our license is great for us, but it is also the start of helping our industry make real change, as well as become the leading industry on fairness for all”

Constructing Equality Ltd Be Fair Service Manager, Caroline Gee, said:

“It’s been a long journey – preparing to be a Be Fair Licensed Provider has been a lot of hard work.  The framework breaks down fairness for companies so that each company knows exactly what is needed, and we have to understand how we can guide, support and assess each very different company on their individual journey.  We believe we’ve cracked it, and CITB clearly do too – we really do have the best team.”

Companies taking on the CITB Be Fair Framework and wishing to use Constructing Equality Ltd as their licensed provider for assessment can sign up directly through Constructing Equality Ltd or can select them at the registration point with CITB.

For further information and details companies taking on Be Fair can contact Constructing Equality Ltd on 0151 706 8132 or via


Construction Industry Shows Support at Liverpool Pride 2014

PrintRepresentatives of several major construction industry organisations will be showing their support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community by attending this year’s Liverpool Pride celebrations.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) will be among the organisations attending the event, along with AECOM and ISG who are both involved in the current £40 million Liverpool Exhibition Centre project on the waterfront. Leading UK construction firm Morgan Sindall, and the cutting edge Space Architects will also be in attendance.

Liverpool-based company Constructing Equality Ltd – the UK’s leading experts on Equality & Diversity in the construction industry – was behind coordinating the efforts of all these organisations to be present, ensuring that construction will have a strong presence on the day.

Chrissi McCarthy, Managing Director of Constructing Equality Ltd, said: “There was a really great response when we started to get the companies together for Liverpool Pride. It seemed like they all wanted to get involved, and represent the industry at events like this, and had resources set aside to make a splash on the day. Hopefully this will demonstrate to the LGBT community that construction has started to move on from the old fashioned image often portrayed”

The construction industry is keen to shed its out-dated image as having a stereotypical, macho, ‘jobs-for-the-boys’, culture and to demonstrate that equality and diversity are very much the current way forward in their business practices. To add weight to this drive, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has recently launched their Be Fair Framework, designed to provide guidance and accreditation for companies within the industry who wish to demonstrate their commitment to this agenda. Constructing Equality Ltd is the first company licensed as providers for assessing companies on this framework.

Kate Lloyd, CITB’s Fairness, Inclusion and Respect Manager, commented: “Be Fair was put together to highlight the importance of Fairness, Inclusion and Respect in construction. Its aim is to provide a straightforward route for organisations to take to address some of the issues that the industry, its employees and customers are currently facing.

“As an industry, we need to show that we embrace diversity – by attending events like Liverpool Pride, more people will get to see the range of careers available and hopefully consider coming to work in our exciting sector.”

Sam French, Strategic Inclusion and Community Manager, says: “Morgan Sindall is a UK construction, infrastructure and design business with a network of local offices and we’re passionate about supporting the communities around the UK in which we work. That’s why we’re proud to be present at Liverpool Pride. What’s more, we’re also really keen to promote construction as a career of choice, so I’d like to encourage anyone who is interested in finding out more about the industry to talk to us.”

Those wishing to visit the construction industry representatives can find them in the family area at the Pier Head after 12pm where there will be construction based games and activities for the family to enjoy.