The demand for skilled tradespersons has never been higher in the UK. There are two main reasons for this;
For 20 years there has been a constant “nudge” towards arts, public sector, social care and IT qualifications. In some ways that is a good thing, it reflects growth areas within the UK economy. But the consequences are we have fewer plumbers, sparkys or plasterers each year. Those skills are regarded as second class, working class, occupations by an elite within the UK education system. In effect, two decades of promoting arts, soft skills and public sector focussed career paths has deskilled many of the under 25s.
Secondly, mass migration has seen demand for housing increase rapidly with thousands of new build and refurbished housing projects live right now. Visit any UK city or suburb and you’ll soon find the new build construction sites and see the scaffolding on would be HMOs, shop/pub/office conversions etc.
Two-fifths of UK tradespeople (40 per cent) have seen an increase in their workload since January, of which ten per cent say the increase has been significant, according to research by Direct Line business insurance. This demand is worth noting. Why? It will inevitably have a knock-on effect for insurance brands, who need to find qualified people this winter to repair houses and apartments damaged in storms. It will be a tough – and expensive – winter, depending on the weather.
Here’s more from Direct Line;
Despite increased work for some tradespeople increasing business, fuel, material, and transport costs are generally becoming an increasing concern. Over a quarter are taking jobs closer to home due to rising transport costs (28 per cent) or the expansion of low emission zones (25 per cent). Over a fifth (21 per cent) have had to turn down jobs because of supply chain issues. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) say that jobs are taking longer to complete, or that their profit margins have decreased, due to honouring quotes despite increasing material and business costs. Added to that, almost one in ten (9 per cent) say that tool theft has impacted their ability to work.
While industry challenges and the cost-of-living continues to rise, sentiment among tradespeople remains relatively high, with 44 per cent expecting a further increase in their workload over the next six months. Currently, there is a nearly an even split between tradespeople that have seen an increase (40 per cent) and decrease (38 per cent) in their workload, however 62 per cent overall say they have either experienced an increase or no change, despite increasingly difficult market conditions.
Tradespeople have mixed feelings towards the impact of their increased or potentially increased workloads. The largest proportion of tradespeople expecting an increase (39 per cent) in work are enjoying having more work to do, although 27 per cent say they are feeling increasingly stressed and anxious about the rise. Over one in ten (12 per cent) have concerns about burnout due to the increased volume of work.
Alison Traboulsi, Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance commented:
“Trade based skills are vital to the UK economy, so it’s encouraging to see that many tradespeople remain optimistic and have continued to see a steady or increase in workload this year. That said, market conditions are becoming increasingly challenging, as business costs continue to rise, and the cost-of-living crisis starts to bite. Supply chain issues, rising material, staff, and transportation costs, as well a tool theft are all affecting tradespeople’s ability to work, with many also reporting a decrease in workload this year.
“It is always important that tradespeople find insurance that provides them with the flexibility, value and cover they may need to help protect their business, particularly during uncertain times. Direct Line business insurance offers a wide range of products, from Tradesperson and tools cover to Employee Liability and Van Cover. Our products help give tradespeople the reassurance that if anything goes wrong, we’ll help to get them back up and running quickly.”
You can find out more about Direct Line’s Tradesperson Insurance by visiting: