Skill shortage of bricklayers in Scotland

Kenneth Lawani, Sarah McKenzie-Govan, Billy Hare, Fred Sherratt, Iain Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
478 Downloads (Pure)


This study identifies that bricklaying trade has not benefited much from off-site production, and bricklaying has been highlighted as a trade significantly affected by the documented skills shortage in Scotland with 66% of small and medium enterprises reporting difficulties in recruiting bricklayers.

This study used an interpretivistic philosophy adopting the phenomenological qualitative research approach using purposeful sampling technique and semi-structured interviews to allow for emergent themes to develop. The theory of proximal similarity that connects the study’s characteristics and the characteristics of the group under study was adopted.

Findings from the emergent themes identified issues grouped into key themes such as inconsistency of income, lack of care and self-employed workforce. The sub-themes included the Scottish climate, risk and profit, physical strain and government expectations and the cost of innovation. These were considered in relation to their existing and future implications for the industry.

Research limitations/implications
A wider and more diverse group of industry participants from different parts of Scotland would have made the study more representative.

Practical implications
It is imperative that the Scottish construction industry supports, develops and trains future bricklayers capable of maintaining existing housing stock and to deliver on future construction projects in Scotland.

This study explores the shortage of skilled bricklayers within the Scottish construction sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-338
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2022


  • skill shortage
  • bricklayers
  • Scotland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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