Skills shortage biggest concern in plumbing sector

Survey findings based on 149 responses from March to May 2018.

Survey findings based on 149 responses from March to May 2018.

A lack of skilled workers and poor training opportunities are the most pressing concerns of the modern plumbing and heating installer, new research shows.

A survey carried out by manufacturer of Hep2O plastic push-fit pipes, Wavin, set out to discover what makes installers tick, and gather details on the current state of the plumbing and heating trade.

Over half (56%) of respondents stated that the skills gap is the biggest threat facing the plumbing industry today. However, more than four fifths (86%) of plumbing professionals would still recommend it as a career, thanks to an abundance of work and high job satisfaction.

The findings also provided a range of additional new insights, including that plumbers are making the most of the new materials on the market, with over 32% seeing a decline in copper use. Meanwhile, when it comes to the perfect customer, it’s all about prompt payment with almost half of respondents (48%) saying this is a much appreciated quality.

Hep2O’s State of the Nation survey paints the picture of the modern day plumber as someone who loves to spend their spare time in the great outdoors, or grabbing a bite to eat in the latest high street restaurant.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a cup of tea and a sandwich remain the refreshments of choice, favoured by 47% and 65% of respondents respectively. Meanwhile, football is the sport of choice for plumbers, with the beautiful game preferred by 48% of survey participants.

“It is no secret that the construction industry is in the midst of a skills shortage” said Karen Stables, marketing manager. “Earlier this year, it was revealed that plumbing is just one of many skilled professions where demand outweighs supply, and without intervention, this can only get worse. Our survey only reinforces how large scale the issue is becoming.

“If we, as an industry, are to tackle the issue effectively, we need to look at the reasons behind the skills gap and address those accordingly. We actively work with colleges and students to engage new talent entering the profession, to complement our existing eLearning and CPD courses.”