Foreign bricklayers ‘on £1,000-a-week amid skill gap


Building companies in London have hired Portuguese bricklayers on £1,000-a-week wages because of a shortage of skilled Britons, a recruitment firm has said.

The finding was revealed by Manpower, whose research is said to have confirmed industry fears of a lack of suitably-trained workers.

Manpower managing director Mark Cahill said he was told the normal £500-a-week pay for bricklayers was being doubled.

The government says it is working with firms to “nurture home-grown talent”.

According to Manpower’s research, prospects in the construction industry are at their strongest level since 2007.

But one-in three large construction firms in London are said to have decided not to bid for projects because of a lack of skilled workers.

‘Confident position’
Manpower’s survey of more than 2,000 employers in all sectors suggests larger companies are set to lead a job creation “charge” early next year.

Utilities were found to be the most optimistic industry, on the back of investment by energy firms.

Mr Cahill said: “2014 was a bumper year for jobseekers, with the highest level of job creation in 40 years.”

He said 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.”

Employers in the north-east of England reported the brightest outlook for jobs among the regions, particularly in customer service jobs.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “In the last year alone planning permission has been granted on 230,000 new homes and private house building starts are at their highest for seven years.

“The government wants to maintain this momentum and ensure British workers – whether those leaving school, leaving our armed forces or considering a return to the industry – benefit from the new career opportunities available.

“In November ministers agreed with the house builders to create tens of thousands of jobs and apprenticeships on sites across the country.”

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