Building firms hire bricklayers from Portugal to combat UK skills shortage

A trainee bricklayer. Photo credit should read: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

A trainee bricklayer. Photo credit should read: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Building firms are having to hire bricklayers from Portugal, paying them £1,000 a week, because of a shortage of workers from the UK, it has been revealed.

A study by employment group Manpower confirmed fears from across British industry of a problem taking on suitably skilled employees.

One in three large construction firms in London are having to turn down bidding opportunities because of a shortage of skilled workers, said Manpower.

Managing director Mark Cahill said he has been told that firms normally paying £500 a week for bricklayers were having to pay twice that for skilled workers from Portugal.

A survey of over 2,000 employers by Manpower suggested that larger companies are set to lead a job creation 'charge' early next year.

The most optimistic sector is utilities, reflecting investment by energy firms.

Mr Cahill said: '2014 was a bumper year for jobseekers, with the highest level of job creation in 40 years. 2015 will begin with employers in an even more confident position and we are optimistic about job prospects for the rest of the year. The main catalyst is big business hiring.'

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Manpower said its research showed that employment prospects in the construction industry were at their strongest level since 2007.

North East England employers reported the brightest outlook for jobs among the regions.

Mr Cahill added: 'The growth in customer service roles is a significant driver of optimism in the North East. We've been recruiting for thousands of people across several contact centres - a huge source of employment in the region - and demand continues to outstrip the supply of candidates.'