Drop in UK construction after Brexit worries EU workers, survey finds

More than a third of EU nationals working in UK construction have considered leaving the UK due to Brexit, a large survey of the UK construction workforce has found.

One in five of all construction workers have considered leaving the country amid Brexit uncertainties.

The potential drop in construction projects is the biggest worry for concerned workers (39% of them), followed by uncertainty over trade deals with the EU (19%).

Recruitment firm Randstad surveyed more than 10,500 construction workers to gauge attitudes.

Randstad called for "action" on Brexit, given that 7% of construction workers in the UK are from the EU, with the proportion rising to more than 25% in London, Randstad said, citing the ONS.

"A no-deal Brexit raises the prospect of delays and cost increases, as employers face difficulties to get vital EU workers to UK building sites, threatening timing of projects," the company said, adding: "The good news is that there is still time to make a difference and retain highly-skilled workers."

Owen Goodhead, managing director of Randstad Construction Property & Engineering, said: "Where UK workers believe complications around visas are the main problem driving EU nationals away from the UK construction industry, the reality is that it’s the potential drop in projects and jobs which could cause workers to explore other opportunities."

He added, "the key is to listen to the current workforce, focus on retention strategy and to ensure robust contingency plans are in place."

Image: London skyline, with cranes, December 2017 (Matt Buck/CC BY-SA 2.0) 

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  1. There is no reason why UK citizens cannot fill the positions made vacant by non-uk citizens who choose to leave the UK.

    Maybe Brexit will act as the catalyst for companies within the UK construction industry to invest in making a career in the construction industry more attractive to all.

    Formal training and apprenticeships were once a part of the UK construction industry; perhaps it is time for their return ?

    I think that if you ask personnel in any industry if they have thought about leaving the UK, its highly probable that at least one in five would provide a positive response.

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