Trade Shortages Plague the UK: Homeowners Struggle to Find Help

Markel Direct's Study Uncovers the UK Cities Facing the Most Severe Shortages of Tradespeople

1 min read
a real estate agent handing the key to the new homeowners
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Key Takeaways:

  1. Widespread Struggle to Hire Tradespeople: 46% of UK homeowners have encountered difficulties in hiring tradespeople for projects or repairs.
  2. Critical Shortage in Specific Cities: Norwich, Peterborough, Swansea, and York face significant shortages in various trades, including plumbers, carpenters, and electricians.
  3. Handymen and Plumbers in High Demand: The study reveals that handymen and plumbers are in short supply in the most cities, with plumbing being the most searched-for trade.

Introduction: A Troubling Trend in Trade Availability

The Growing Challenge of Finding Skilled Tradespeople

A recent survey conducted by Markel Direct, specialists in insuring tradespeople, has shed light on the extent of trade shortages in the UK. The study’s findings highlight the struggles homeowners face in securing the necessary skilled labor for their projects and repairs.

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Homeowners’ Struggle to Secure Tradespeople

No Availability and Shortage of Specific Trades

A Nationwide Issue

The study reveals that almost half of UK homeowners have struggled to find tradespeople, with 46% citing no availability and 34% noting a shortage of specific trades in their area. This issue is exacerbated by the increasing demands for home repairs and renovations.

UK Cities with the Most Severe Shortages

Identifying the Hotspots of Trade Shortages

Norwich Leads in Trade Gaps

Norwich emerges as the city with the most significant shortage compared to search demand, lacking skilled labor in nine trades, including bricklayers and carpenters.

Other Cities Facing Shortages

A Widespread Problem

Peterborough, Swansea, and York each exhibit shortages in eight trades, while Plymouth faces a shortfall in seven trades. These findings indicate a widespread challenge across various UK cities.

Trades in Highest Demand

The Search for Handymen and Plumbers

Most Cities Facing Shortages

Handymen and plumbers are in short supply in the most cities, with 15 and 12 cities, respectively, lacking enough businesses to meet search demand. This highlights the critical need for these trades across the UK.

Bricklayers and Carpenters Also in Demand

Gap in Skilled Labor

Bricklayers and carpenters are also in high demand, with seven cities each facing a shortage of these skilled tradespeople.

Common DIY Disasters Leading to Professional Help

The Need for Expert Intervention

Top DIY Challenges

Plumbing repairs, painting and decorating, and tree removal top the list of DIY tasks that often lead homeowners to seek professional help. These areas underscore the vital role of tradespeople in maintaining and improving homes.

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Expert Commentary: The Importance of Professional Tradespeople

Advice from Rob Rees, Markel Direct

The Risks of DIY Attempts

Rob Rees, Divisional Director at Markel Direct, cautions against DIY attempts that could lead to further problems. He advocates for hiring accredited and insured tradespeople to ensure high-quality and safe work.

Conclusion: Addressing the Trade Shortage Crisis

In conclusion, the Markel Direct study provides crucial insights into the UK’s current shortage of tradespeople, highlighting the need for more skilled labor in various cities. This shortage not only impacts homeowners but also reflects broader issues in the labor market that require attention and action.


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