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REED Property and Construction Comment: leaner businesses mean skills shortages8th June 2012

Skills shortages are impacting on the growth of many UK businesses in the property and construction sector according to a new report, which canvassed the views of 1,500 employers and employees. The REED Property and Construction 2012 Salary and Market Insight report revealed that losing talent is a key concern among senior management, with four in ten businesses in the property and construction sector admitting they have skills gaps in their organisation, which are having an effect on their business performance and growth potential.

According to the report, some property and construction businesses are already taking steps to stem the flow of lost talent, with 37% investing in training, while more than one in five (22%) are focusing on internal promotion. A further one in five (22%) property and construction businesses are looking externally to address their skills gaps, but enhanced benefits packages to attract and retain people are much less common.

Worryingly, 41% of employees in the property and construction sector felt that their organisation was doing nothing to attract or retain talent.

John Seasman, executive divisional manager at REED Property and Construction, said: “Our research also found that nearly a third (29%) of businesses in the sector didn’t know whether they had a skills shortage in their organisation or not, which suggests that they aren’t taking enough measures to retain the talent they have within their organisation.

“The majority of businesses are now being run in a very lean way, with little surplus of skills to take up the slack when someone leaves for a new role. This means that effective talent management is more important than ever and the first step to this is understanding the skills within the organisation. However, while key skills are important, employers will also benefit from a degree of flexibility if they can find employees with the right mindset – as research carried out by Reed also found that one person with the right mindset is worth seven without.”

The Reed report also shows that the skills shortage is showing no sign of abating. While the majority of UK workers (61%) are satisfied in their current roles, many are looking to move on to new challenges. This is particularly prevalent at junior manager level, with 46% either actively looking for a new role or planning to start the search in the next 12 months.

John Seasman said: “Junior managers are the leaders of tomorrow and an area where many companies invest a lot of time. They are also heavily involved in an organisation’s day to day operations and, therefore, too many departures at this level could have a disruptive effect on a business.

“Inevitably, there will always be those individuals who want to move on, but employers should look carefully at this level within their business to identify where particular skills and talents lie.”

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