I recently wrote a post about the lack of youth and new blood in the industry, and mentioned that our sector could do with an immediate influx of around 15,000 fresh faces. We have a skills and youth crisis throughout the construction sector, and our little world isn’t immune to that. However, Lee from Flamborough Windows raised a few good points on Twitter once the post went live.

Paid more at Aldi

Here are the tweets sent from Lee which address an issue at fabricator level:

Lets be fair, Lee has a point. Why would people go through years of training, to then go on to full time, full paid employment and get paid less than those stacking shelves in a supermarket?

You ask people to learn. To learn a skill, a trade. Become craftsmen. It’s a hard journey for a lot of people, but they come out of the other end with vital skills. Yet these skills are often rewarded with pay that doesn’t merit the skill and knowledge learned. Then Aldi or Lidl come along, paying a couple of quid more an hour, with less work and physical labour, and those valuable skills become wasted stacking shelves.

I’ll be honest, I have been told about this scenario more than once, and by people who have worked at companies who do exactly as I’ve just described.

Attractive pay

As much as we don’t like it, money makes the world go round. And if we want people to stay in the industry, or people to join, they need to know that it’s going to be worth it for them. Paying less than the new living wage isn’t going to do that.

Pay has to be attractive. As much as the industry would like to keep it’s costs down at fabricator and systems company levels, we also have to recognise that by paying peanuts, peanuts is exactly what we should expect out the other end.

Remember, our industry is trying to sell high end products, made to a high standard to improve the standard of people’s living and their properties. We’re not going to do that with an underpaid, under-motivated workforce.

I am sure that some factories will be paying their staff well. Not all are the same. But I suspect that there are plenty that could with raising wages by a pound or two per hour. And whilst those factories are maintaining those sorts of wages, there is going to be very little attraction to school leavers and potential apprentices to come and join our industry.

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