So, that kills Peoples’ QE, doesn’t it?

Britain’s skilled worker shortage is hamstringing developers and construction companies attempting to boost production and tackle the UK housing crisis, a new report claims.
From a survey of more than 100 companies, 87 per cent of respondents said they hoped to create new jobs in the next 12 months – an estimated 100,000 new positions.
However, one in four of these also said a ‘skills shortage’ in roles such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, bricklayers and kitchen fitters was their biggest impediment.

For PQE is, now at least, only that emergency stimulus that the economy needs in order to stymie deflation.

And we just ain’t got the people to do it. Shouting about training people doesn’t provide the emergency bit, does it?

So, back to standard economics then, eh?

27 thoughts on “So, that kills Peoples’ QE, doesn’t it?”

  1. I know a chap who runs a C&G in welding in the midlands. He can’t produce enough qualified welders for local businesses. But in real terms, funding is being cut for FE colleges, while we’re producing large numbers of history and psychology graduates (yes, it’s the Tories, but none of the other parties are shouting about it).

  2. It is not that we don’t have enough plumbers. It is that we don’t have enough plumbers at the prices employers want to pay. A level held down for a couple of decades by cheap Polish labour.

    The solution is to pay them more. Then we will have more. We will have people put off, or come out of, retirement. We will have people who have moved into other areas come back. And eventually we will train more.

    Any policy based on impoverishing the skilled work force and papering over the collapse of the education system is insane. Time we stopped.

  3. @TS We do need History students as well, especially Economic historians and the most arty farty English and even Media students, who trained in a certain amount of deconstruction can see that Banks don’t lend money etc and might come across writers who talk about Social Credit and political concepts like Distributism that have dropped out of the language.
    I used to work in an FE college in the Midlands (probably the one you are talking about) and we churned out qualified people by the thousand .But then we were left to get on with it by the local authority.They did try and axe A levels once and the whole staff came out on strike: engineers, secretarial, caterers, drama lecturers the lot.

  4. DBC Reed – “I used to work in an FE college in the Midlands (probably the one you are talking about) and we churned out qualified people by the thousand .”

    I object to the word “qualified”

  5. Tim

    Don’t forget, apparently that these are ‘low skill’ positions where people can easily be trained! The Transport sector (in which I used to work) reports similar levels of skill shortages – so not only is there no means of building the infrastructure we lack the wherewithal to get the materials in situ to build it…. Won’t matter one iota to Murphy unfortunately – down to someone else to bother with the details….

  6. A few years back a local paper ran a story about a guy retraining as a plumber.
    He was a lecturer at a university – decent money he thought.
    Then he got chatting to the plumber who came to fix something in his house. The plumber had several times the lecturers income.
    Result was the lecturer left his job and retrained.

  7. Bloke in North Dorset

    A skills shortage also means experience shortage.

    Its one thing an FE college turning out 1000s of welders, they then need to learn to do job quickly and accurately and only then can they be classed as skilled. The only way to get that experience is on the job.

    Those new starters also need experienced people to supervise and quality check their work.

    That’s why lobbing a load of money at the problem won’t fix it quickly. (Not that Governement lobbing money at a problem ever fixes it)

  8. Lecturer to plumber? I have heard similar: the trouble is a plumber with a PhD is fine on the theory but probably doesn’t have the practised manual skills to make a good soldered joint etc. Which is the tragedy of a system then encourages too many people to ‘get a degree’ and status rather than learn a useful and profitable trade.

  9. SMFS,

    “It is not that we don’t have enough plumbers. It is that we don’t have enough plumbers at the prices employers want to pay. A level held down for a couple of decades by cheap Polish labour.”

    It’s about more than that. A lot of people view certain jobs as a shift down the social ladder. They’d rather have a badly paid office job than be a well-paid plumber.

    How many people take their redundancy cheque and go off and write a novel, or open a cafe? How many take a couple of months and learn plumbing? But we know that plumbing pays better than either of the other two.

  10. SMFS
    You need to do a bit of old-fashioned British linguistic philosophy: something once available at some FE colleges.
    You cannot use the word “qualified” without an infinitive or other modification .You are not qualified per se: you are qualified to practise medicine etc .Likewise you are qualified to do safe reliable welding.Only nasty little snobs , the kind that voted for Cameron because he had class (money), would think otherwise.

  11. There could be an opportunity for a sufficiently ruthless tyranical regime to apply a Pol Pot type solution to the problem:

    Take all the drones in public sector non-jobs and force them to become unskilled or semi-skilled labourers.

    The most useless of them would pretty soon perish falling off a ladder or something and the best of them could develop the skills to advance to plumber or brickie, while the bulk of them would be suitable for hod carrying, cement mixing or holding the torch so that the skilled guy can see what he’s doing while working in that stupid cupboard under the stairs.

    Funny though that a sufficiently ruthless tyranical regime would be, (and has been historically), of the left rather than the right. I wonder if all those sociology lecturers and outreach co-ordinators who are enthusiastically cheering on corbynomics realise what their future holds when Comrade Richie is put in charge of People’s Infrastructure Development?

  12. SMFS

    “It is not that we don’t have enough plumbers. It is that we don’t have enough plumbers at the prices employers want to pay. A level held down for a couple of decades by cheap Polish labour.”

    I don’t know where you are based, but here in Central London Polish plumbers – and other trades – command a premium and have done for at least the last five years. Something to do with not drinking tea, not listening to the radio and actually working non-stop for the whole working day.

    As a developer of commercial property, I can tell you it’s a lot easier to plan a timetable for a build when the trades are at least 60% Polish(or Latvian, Czech, German – yes, we have them) rather than Cockney.

  13. Being a tradesman (especially a self employed one) requires a different mindset to most people’s office 9-5 based one. It needs a ‘can do’ attitude, a willingness to think outside the box, to get the job done in the time available regardless of whether thats a Bank Holiday Monday, or 9pm on a Friday, or whatever. You don’t just push the office chair in and go home if you’re tradesman, your customers will always be after you, and you need to attend to them, as they are your livelihood.

    Its also the case that you need a certain sort of intelligence, you can’t take anyone and make them into a practical person. They can have an IQ in the stratosphere, but be utterly unable to visualise the job, work out the best (and/or cheapest) method of achieving it, and then put that into practical effect in the most efficient manner. I know people who are very intelligent but I wouldn’t let them loose with a hammer let alone any power tools.

    I don’t think practical ability is that linked to intelligence, you can be highly intellectual and practical and you can be unable to do algebra and practical with it. And vice versa in both cases.

  14. Incidentally, a rather similar story is unfolding in the USA. Birth rates in Mexico have plummeted to near developed world levels, Mexico has become richer, and migration to the US has become both harder and less attractive. As a result there are shortages of semi-skilled workers in the building trades.

  15. So Much For Subtlety

    The Stigler – “A lot of people view certain jobs as a shift down the social ladder. They’d rather have a badly paid office job than be a well-paid plumber.”

    I agree. It is a problem. But I am sure a new Mercedes Benz would take some of the pain away. We have a lot of NEETs to get into the work force before we have to start cutting down the number of people with pointless sociology degrees from Sussex Uni.

    DBC Reed – “You cannot use the word “qualified” without an infinitive or other modification .”

    I can, I did, I did correctly.

    Recusant – “I don’t know where you are based, but here in Central London Polish plumbers – and other trades – command a premium and have done for at least the last five years. Something to do with not drinking tea, not listening to the radio and actually working non-stop for the whole working day.”

    I wouldn’t pay a British to do a damn thing I did not have to. Sadly. But where to start fixing this problem? They need to be in employment so that they can learn they only get paid when they turn up and do the damn job.

    We can’t simply import people to make up for the many and manifest deficiencies in every area in government policy. We need to fix the government policies.

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    Kevin B – “Take all the drones in public sector non-jobs and force them to become unskilled or semi-skilled labourers.”

    Gamecock – “Government training: Obama’s Program in Disarray having Spent $41mn Training Five Syrian Rebels”

    I am seeing a synergy here. A chance for some creative and innovative policy making.

    Why don’t we take all our B Ark drones from the civil service, give them some basic training and then air drop them on ISIS?

    One scenario is that ISIS all gives them jobs co-ordinating Syrian lesbian bereavement centres. But frankly who gives a damn?

  17. SMFS
    Contradictions without supporting evidence do not settle adult arguments.You have not given any argument to support your use of “qualified” without explaining: to do what? You are evidently not qualified to undertake serious discussion ; you are also not qualified to punctuate a string of short sentences ( with semi-colons).

  18. DBC Reed

    I think you have picked the wrong argument, and I don’t think Someone as eminent as SMFS needs my help to refute you – nevertheless he used the word “qualified” to imply the qualifications might not amount to much.

    I would have said qualified (at least on paper) which might have been closer to the mark. Much of the tertiary education sector’s output in the UK is actually worthless in economic terms.

  19. Contradictions without supporting evidence do not settle adult arguments

    Who is this who said that? It can’t be DBC Reed?

  20. @ DBC Reed
    I qualified as … (choose any one from four)
    Largely because I was good at exams, partly because I was taught some English grammar. It is appalling that a FE college should hire someone who is so proud of his ignorance of English grammar.

  21. Whenever I hear the words “deconstruction” it makes me want to reach for my dictionary.
    “Banks don’t lend money etc” Well, if they are the banks where the wild thyme grows, I suppose not.

  22. @J77
    Banks don’t lend money. Read the BoE bulletin ” Money Creation in the Modern Economy”. Banks create money.
    I covered the example of “qualified as”.If you bothered to check your facts for once, you would see that I wrote that you cannot use “qualified without an infinitive or other modification”. Qualified? Failed, yet again.

  23. Should we be surprised that someone who continually invents history should also invent his own version of English grammar? An infinitive as a modifier indeed. I can only laugh at this level of ignorance. “I am qualified” means, to everyone other than DBCR, that I have a qualification. Of course I can add information in a noun phrase but the original 3 words are obviously capable of standing as a complete sentence.

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