FIS, the leading trade association supporting the finishes and interiors sector, has joined the call from fellow construction bodies for united action between industry and government to address skills pinch-points.

The announcement today by the organisations – Association for Consultancy & Engineering, Build UK (representing FIS and its membership), Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Construction Plant-hire Association, Construction Products Association, Federation of Master Builders, Highways Term Maintenance Association, National Federation of Builders and the Chartered Institute of Building – has jointly called for collaboration to boost availability of occupations in greatest shortages, including site supervisors, operatives and quantity surveyors.

These organisations want to see the industry work together to accelerate recruitment for 18 severe shortage roles in industry, which include acoustic engineers, ceiling fixers, construction and building trades supervisors, and dryliners.

Roles identified as being hardest to recruit for have been identified through research from across the members of each organisation and the wider industry, including members of FIS. These roles are vital to the delivery of projects nationwide.

The groups recommend that wherever possible, steps should be taken to recruit for these roles within the UK, bringing in new workers or upskilling the existing workforce.

Where this is not possible, it is proposed that the government add the roles to its Shortage Occupation list as part of its current review of migration as the UK leaves the EU. Additions to the Shortage Occupation list would allow these roles to be prioritised in future migration from the rest of the world, helping industry to fill these essential roles.

Iain McIlwee, CEO of FIS, said: “Skills shortages are an ongoing concern for our members and if we sleepwalk into the guidance laid down by the Migration Advisory Committee, it could create real problems for construction delivery. As a trade body, we have been working tirelessly to support recruitment, training and upskilling within the finishes and interiors sector and we will continue to do so. However, in the short to medium term we will clearly rely on overseas workers too.

“We need a joined-up approach between industry and government when looking at these shortages – arbitrary thresholds based on employment, salary and higher levels of education and not the needs of the wider economy is short-sighted.”

For more information on the research and subsequent findings, visit: