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Brexit: measuring the impact upon skilled labour in the UK construction industry

Marwan Mohamed (School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK)
Erika Anneli Pärn (School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK)
David John Edwards (Birmingham City Business School, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK)

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation

ISSN: 2398-4708

Publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an understanding of the potential impact of Brexit upon the UK construction industry. Specifically, the work analyses the construction industry’s reliance upon European Union (EU) skilled labour and seeks to determine the potential impact that Brexit poses upon EU skilled labour entering the sector.

Design/methodology/approach

A perceptual questionnaire survey was used to elicit responses from construction professionals using the two techniques of opportunity and snowballing non-probability sampling. Summary statistical analysis of Boolean and Likert item scale data accrued was employed to elucidate upon respondents’ perceptions.

Findings

The majority of survey participants either “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that the UK construction industry relies upon EU skilled labour and that a career in the sector would not be attractive for foreign skilled labour post-Brexit. Future research proposed includes: predicting future trends in labour supply and demand and deriving new policies to address skills shortage imbalances that may be created by Brexit.

Originality/value

Original insight into an historic and unprecedented moment for the UK construction industry is presented. The work also provides pragmatic recommendations to policy makers and Higher Education Institutes to prevent the risk of Brexit further exacerbating skilled labour shortages within the industry.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Thank you to Miss P.G. Spittle, OPERC and Professor Gareth Neighbour, Birmingham City University for their constructive comments, suggestions and various editorial contributions.

Dedication: this paper is dedicated to June Edwards (3 December 1947 to 13 May 2017) – a mother rich with unconditional love, gifted with intellect and graced with elegance and beauty.

Citation

Mohamed, M., Pärn, E.A. and Edwards, D.J. (2017), "Brexit: measuring the impact upon skilled labour in the UK construction industry", International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 264-279. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBPA-05-2017-0023

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited