As the country prepares to go to the polls in June to vote on whether to stay in the EU, CNM Specialist Recruitment consider what this means for the UK Construction industry. It’s sure to have an impact, and one that many in the industry are debating as the date to vote rolls around.

Access to Labour

It’s well known that the construction industry relies on foreign workers to complete projects, and has done for many years. Skilled and non-skilled workers regularly travel to the UK to earn on long term projects. Being part of the EU means everyone has the right of free movement, making it easier to move to the UK to work. Of course it won’t be impossible, however it will be increasingly difficult.

Skills Shortage

A lack of access to labour, of course leads to a skills shortage. A skills shortage is already being felt across our industry, and without being part of the EU, and without access to labour from other member countries this is likely to be felt deeper than ever. There is a real concern that those skilled workers will be put off by a lengthy application process and emigrate to other countries with free movement such as Spain or Germany. By some this is seen as a positive, as they believe it will lead to more UK employment, but others feel this is a short-sighted view as the skills gap can’t be filled by the skilled workers we currently have available.

Lack of Investment

For multinational giants in the UK, leaving the EU poses an investment problem. The EU is essentially a trading union, the biggest in the world, making it easier for organisations in different countries to invest in each other. Also it will raise concerns for those in other member countries who have a stake in UK businesses. Already we are seeing other international businesses advising caution to those considering investing in UK businesses, to wait until the vote has been cast, to see whether they’d still like to invest in an independent UK. All this could potentially lead to a halt in construction projects.

Relaxed Regulations

Smaller construction companies may benefit from reduced regulations, allowing them to operate more freely. It could also potentially mean a reduction in costs for smaller businesses, such as the removal of extra costs incurred from the EU’s social legislation. It hasn’t yet been said how the change would affect the regulations, however a number of SMEs have welcomed an exit from the EU, as they feel they could really benefit from less overseas competition.

No Precedent

Another consideration, is that no country has ever withdrawn from the EU, so by withdrawing the UK would be setting new ground. Essentially this means we won’t know the implications of the decision until it is made, and how deeply the change will affect the UK Construction Industry.

A recent poll conducted by Building.co.uk (http://www.building.co.uk/decision-time-on-theuk%E2%80%99s-eu-membership/5080293.article) found that currently construction companies and those who work within the industry, were swaying towards a vote to stay in the EU, however it was certainly close with a seeming divide between large corporations and SMEs. Whatever the result of the vote in June, there are sure to be impacts on the UK Construction Industry and those who work within it.

CNM Specialist Recruitment specialise in Built Environment recruitment across Yorkshire and the North of England. Focussing on Construction, Engineering, Maintenance, Surveying, Architecture and Facilities Management, CNM Specialist Recruitment aim to build long term partnerships with both clients and candidates.