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 United Kingdom’s (UK) 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 upon rising costs and finally, ascertains the consequences and recognises the strategies that help to alleviate the skills shortage. A mixed methodological approach was adopted in this study. A total of seventy-eight (78) questionnaires and three (3) semi-structured interviews were conducted using purposive sampling. The complimentary data were statistically and thematically analysed, respectively. Existing literature tends to separate time, cost and quality (TCQ) but the findings from this study reveal that industry professionals are reluctant to separate cost from other project variables. They believe all issues have direct and indirect implications on project costs. Additionally, measures intended to reduce the industry’s skills shortage e.g., 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 which can help mitigate the skills shortage crisis and improve project costs as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalProceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Management, Procurement and Law
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021


  • Cost
  • Education and training
  • Workforce


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