Forecasting the supply of construction labour
Construction is a labour-intensive industry that places heavy reliance upon the skills of its workforce. Construction companies need to understand and realise the importance of long-term labour resource planning requirements. The overall aim of this thesis is to develop a systematic planning process that offers the opportunity for gathering information for construction labour markets throughout Europe. Such a process would benefit the construction industry by identifying imbalances between the demand and supply of specific construction skills. In order to plan, the construction industry must: appreciate the complexity of labour resource requirements; understand the long-term planning implications; have reliable information; and be aware of any restrictions or limitations on the planning exercise. These have been reflected in the main objectives of this research which were to: identify and collate useful and reliable sources of data on construction labour resources throughout Europe; construct a model to predict labour resource trends; and assess the acceptability of movement between various European regions. Key sources of construction industry labour statistics were identified in several European countries. Descriptions of the information held by each source were obtained through a questionnaire survey that illustrated the extent to which data in individual countries were broken down. Due to the differences in the classification of data, meaningful comparisons of labour statistics from one country to another were difficult to achieve. The future supply of construction skills depends on the recruitment of young people, together with some upgrading of semi-skilled operatives to skilled operatives. The potential for modelling labour supply was identified and could provide an insight into influences on this supply of trainees. A human capital approach to analysing labour supply was used as a theoretical basis for developing such a model. It was found that real craft wage and output have a strong influence on the supply of nerv entrants, along with demographic factors and young people's image of the construction industry. The movement of labour within Europe is more common place in the construction industry than other industries owing to the transient nature of the workforce. Factors governing labour mobility between various regions of Europe were identified through literature review. This research demonstrated that the movement of construction labour depends on several push-pull factors: push factors encourage movement from a particular region; and pull-factors direct movement into a particular region. Mutual recognition of qualification and common labour regulations were found to be less significant factors.