KPMG’s Richard Threlfall has urged the construction industry to address both skills gaps and image problems. What does this mean for builders’ merchants?


KPMG’s head of infrastructure Richard Threlfall has spoken about the state of the construction industry ahead of May’s general election.

Voters will flock to the polling stations in May in order to decide the shape of parliament for the immediate future. It’s likely that the result of the general election will have a significant impact on the fortunes of the construction industry, and by association builders’ merchants and other industry retailers.

Mr Threlfall has stressed the importance of addressing the widening construction industry skills gap this year. ‘The industry is failing to hire sufficiently fast, and is failing to train the workforce it needs in sufficient volume’, he said.

‘The construction industry continues to struggle to attract both the calibre and the diversity of individuals it needs’, added Threlfall.

According to Mr Threlfall, the construction industry skills shortage is predominantly due to an industry-wide image problem, preventing young people from pursuing a career in construction. ‘Careers advice from schools, parents and peers is too often a cocktail of prejudice and ignorance… the industry bears much of the blame for failing to proactively sell itself.’

Despite the tone of his statement, Threlfall is optimistic about what the general election might mean for the construction industry. ‘I am confident we will not see a repeat of the mass cancellation of (infrastructure) schemes that took place in 2010’, he added.

2015 looks set to be an uncertain year for the construction industry, so anticipating demand for your products might prove difficult. Builders’ merchant stock control software can help you deal with low-demand periods and ensure that you have the necessary products in stock when demand peaks once more. Take a look at Integrity Trader’s builders’ merchant software solutions today, or contact us for more information.