Exclusive: Highways England analysis makes grim reading for Brexit

 

Highways England analysis of the UK's reliance on EU workers makes grim reading for the roads sector when it comes to Brexit, Transport Network can reveal.

Around 80% of Highways England's 'top 30 suppliers' and 93% of various key supply chain networks responded to the survey, which was briefed to industry last year but has not been released to the public. 

The news comes as the sector is gripped by a skills shortage while simultaneously carrying out what the Government has repeatedly called 'the largest programme of investment for a generation'.

The survey of top contractors reveals that:

  • 45% respondents said that they had greater than 20% EU workers within workforce (at the Trade/Labour /Plant Operative level)
  • 21% respondents said that they had greater than 30% EU workers within workforce (at the Trade/Labour /Plant Operative level)

Briefing notes seen exclusively by Transport Network also suggest that in the direct workforce space nearly half of companies have greater than 10% non-UK EU labour and one in five companies have greater than 20% non-UK EU labour.

”Local

 

In the subcontractors workforce - Tier 2 and 3 - the picture is even more alarming.

The survey found:

  • 33% respondents said that their sub-contractors had Greater than 30% EU workers within workforce (at the Trade/Labour/Plant Operative level)
  • 17% respondents said that their sub-contractors had Greater than 40% EU workers within workforce (at the Trade/Labour/Plant Operative level)
  • 9% respondents said that their sub-contractors had Greater than 50% EU workers within workforce (at the Trade/Labour/Plant Operative level)

The survey also revealed that 69% of respondents said non-UK workers were important or very important to the highways sector.

”Local
The notes are not specific about what 'impact' refers to here but the graph comes just after questions about EU workers.

To give some idea of how serious any loss of skills right now could be for the highways sector, the survey also revealed that 44% respondents said that current skills shortage is 'either very severe or severe', while only 7% respondents said that current skills shortage is either 'minor or not an issue'.

On top of this, Transport Network has already revealed that the Government's Apprenticeship Levy designed to tackle the skills shortage has paid out just £108m of the roughly £2bn raked in by the end of February, with much of the roads sector not even covered by approved apprenticeship schemes. 

The Highways England analysis showed the top three barriers in attracting people to the highways sector are:

  • 1st - Careers in other industries are more attractive to STEM graduates & apprentices
  • 2nd - Limited appeal of the highways sector compared to other sectors in infrastructure and the built environment
  • 3rd - Remuneration and rewards are not competitive

It also revealed that main barriers in retaining talent are

  • 1st - Schemes outside the roads sector attract talent away from highways
  • 2nd - Lack of work/life balance
  • 3rd - Fear around job security due to historic stop/start approach to investment

The polling received 88 responses.

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Director, Governance and Improvement

City of York Council
£85-95k plus relocation package
We are looking for an exceptional individual to be appointed to the position of Director of Governance and Improvement. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Senior Team Leader

Redbridge London Borough Council
£35,992 to £38,994 per annum inclusive
Looking for individuals with initiative, evidence of experience in managing a street cleansing service and motivating... Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Road Safety Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,589 - £31,371
We are looking for a candidate who can participate in developing and delivering technically sound highway engineering solutions. Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Information Management Officer x 2 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£24,799 - £26,317
Looking for better and smarter ways to operate and you will play a key role working across a broad range of service... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Graduate Engineer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
This is an exciting new opportunity in the Highway Services team to play a pivotal role in creating a safe and... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Chief Fire Officer

West Sussex County Council
Competitive Salary plus Financial Support for Recruitment and Retention
We are looking for an exceptional individual who can lead our Fire & Rescue Service Chichester, West Sussex
Recuriter: West Sussex County Council

School Crossing Patrol

Brent Council
£21,591 - £22,377 p.a. inc. pro rata.
Looking for someone that is friendly, has great communication skills and enjoys working with children. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Engineer (Highway Design)

Darlington Borough Council
£31,371 - £33,799
Looking to employ an experienced person within the Highway Design team to meet the challenge of enabling development... Darlington, Durham
Recuriter: Darlington Borough Council

Project Manager – Major Maintenance and Infrastructure Projects 

Liverpool City Council
£42,683 - £47,491 
The successful candidate will ensure that effective procurement and delivery of highways maintenance and improvement. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Green Space Development Manager

Camden London Borough Council
£45,504 - £52,786
The successful candidate will join a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team and contribute to our commitment to deliver for... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Green Space Project Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£40,829 - £47,360
The successful candidate will join a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team and contribute to our commitment to deliver for the people of Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Senior Principal Planning Officer - Fixed Term

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£39.774 - £42.684
Looking for key members of the team that will be instrumental in transforming the Borough and opportunities available for residents.  Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Career Grade Planner

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£27228 - £36711
In this role you will deal primarily with small-scale planning applications covering a wide range of planning issues. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Career Grade Planning Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£27.228 - £36.711
We offer a great opportunity to develop your career with a positive approach to development and a desire to put... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Director of Place and Communities

Ashfield District Council
£79,070
As the Director for Place and Communities you will provide strategic and operational leadership across a range of key services including Waste... Nottinghamshire
Recuriter: Ashfield District Council

Highways Operative - 3 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£18,426 - £21,166 (plus 20% enhancement if working in the night team)
You will be responsible for providing effective maintenance and development of the Kirklees road network carrying out a range of highway works. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Rights of Way Officer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£26,470 - £28,221
The purpose of the role is to implement and advise on the maintenance, protection, improvement and promotion of access... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Road Safety and Sustainable Transport Assistant

Telford & Wrekin Council
£11.41 - £12.35 per hour
Are you passionate about Road Safety, and want to help educate road users and develop their skills? Wrekin, Telford
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
As an Engineer, you will be required to lead the delivery of a wide range of highway improvements and maintenance projects to... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Head of Highways Infrastructure

Leeds City Council
£72,397 - £79,637
Seeking an exceptional candidate for the position of Head of Highways Infrastructure to lead on the authority’s duty to... Leeds, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Leeds City Council