PAY is rising in the construction sector as employers look to fill a skills gap.

That is the view of a recruitment consultant who says some clients are looking to increase their workforce by up to 50 per cent as the sector leads the recovery.

Jacqueline Entwistle, managing partner of Bournemouth based Quantum said the construction sector employed 10 per cent of the UK workforce.

“It was quite commonly acknowledged that it was always going to be the building sector that would lead us out of the recession and as soon as you saw more tower cranes around, that’s when the feelgood factor started coming back,” she said.

“I’ve got clients locally that are probably looking to increase their workforce by one third to 50 per cent.”

She is hiring a trainee construction account manager to cope with the extra workload. But she said there was a skills gap in the sector.

“We’ve got a highly qualified skilled construction sector that are getting older but there seems to be this skills gulf among people in the late 20s to early 30s.”

She said the recovery was being felt in rising pay. A site manager’s salary had until recently been around £30,000 – but she had recently placed one at a £50,000 salary plus £5,000 car allowance.

She had also noticed skilled workers returning from overseas. “I recently placed a site manager in a role. He left the UK during the recession to work in Australia as he was struggling to find work here but has decided to return as he could see the significant growth and opportunities.”

A project surveyor had recently relocated from Wales to Bournemouth to join Greendale Construction, whose current projects include a major refurbishment of Poole Methodist Church.