The effects of skills shortages on construction costs in the UK

Adrian George, Emmanuel Aboagye-Nimo, Sam Mamphey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The UK's construction industry is facing an ever-increasing skills shortage and is experiencing the highest density of shortages across all other sectors. The skills shortage is extensively explored, but research rarely considers whether the skills shortage directly contributes to the rising cost of construction. This research explores the severity of the current skills shortage, identifies the causes, assesses the effects on rising costs and, finally, ascertains the consequences and recognises the strategies that help alleviate the skills shortage. A mixed methodological approach was adopted in this study. A total of 78 questionnaires and three semi-structured interviews were conducted using purposive sampling; the complementary data were statistically and thematically analysed, respectively. The existing literature tends to separate time, cost and quality, but the findings from this study reveal that industry professionals are reluctant to separate cost from other project variables. They believe that all issues have direct and indirect implications on project costs. Additionally, measures intended to reduce the industry's skills shortage-for example, the direct employment mandate for public works-may be driving up project costs even further. This research offers pragmatic recommendations to organisations using insights from practitioners and policy influencers that can help mitigate the skills shortage crisis and improve project costs as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-86
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Management, Procurement and Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • Cost
  • Education and training
  • Workforce
  • education & training
  • cost
  • workforce


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of skills shortages on construction costs in the UK'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this