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Fencing

The fencing industry covers: agricultural, high security, electrical, environmental, vehicle restraint systems, residential, automatic gates, and access barriers. It is made up of a variety of operators including specialist contractors and erectors, safety fencing contractors and multi-skilled operators.

Key statistics:

  • There are 34,350 people working in the industry, in approximately 2,750 businesses.
  • 88% of businesses employ less than 10 staff and 12% employ between 10-49 staff.
  • 97% of the workforce is white.
  • 89% of the workforce is male.
  • the majority of the workforce is aged 35-44 years.
  • 93% of the workforce is employed full-time.
  • Around 25% of people within the industry are self-employed.

Jobs in the industry include: basic operative/labourer, lead installer, contracts manager, parapet installer, designer, plant and machinery operator, electric fence installer, environmental manager, estimator, quantity surveyor, general fence installer, marketing manager, vehicle safety fence installer, health and safety supervisor, Video Relay Service (VRS) Installer

Entry requirements for this industry vary depending on the job role. Some jobs require no formal qualifications. However, relevant qualifications and experience can be an advantage, especially for higher paid job roles. Technical/specialist roles may require specific qualifications and/or experience, but some employers may invest in training a suitable individual. Entry may be enhanced by obtaining Fencing Industry Skills Scheme/ Construction Skills Certification (FISS/CSCS) card. Organisations may be willing to train potential entrants who have not yet obtained the award.

Drivers of change in employment are:

  • Economic change – There is a changing consumer demand. The price of fencing materials such as timber and steel, as well as fuel prices, affect profit margins and charges.
  • Legislation and regulations – Many parts of the industry have to comply with ongoing legislation designed to drive up standards and improve health and safety within the construction sector.
  • Labour supply – Fencing businesses are currently finding it harder to source skilled migrant labour.
  • Climate change – businesses within the sector generally need to respond to climate change by reducing their environmental impact.
  • Health and safety – Given the size of the industry, problems will be in managing, standardising and enforcing health and safety policies and practices.
  • Land management – The ‘right to roam’ legislation, which has increased public access to the countryside, affects many land management decisions (e.g. footpath provision, habitats/nesting, fencing of boundaries). This issue is applicable to agricultural related fencing and other businesses operating in rural settings.

Recently, the industry has undergone significant changes, which has led to an increasing demand for high skill staff. There are also requirements for:

  • Business and management skills
  • Technical/job specific skills (e.g. Fencing Industry Skills Scheme / Construction Skills Certification Scheme (FISS/CSCS)
  • Essential skills (e.g. literacy, numeracy, IT, communication and customer relations)

Current and future skills needed by different occupations include:

  • Semi-skilled staff are required to achieve a number of health and safety standards and competencies (e.g. obtaining FISS/CSCS cards and Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) cards). Basic numeracy and literacy skills are also required.
  • Skilled staff are required to obtain the same technical qualifications as at semi-skilled levels. Beyond these, skilled staff require supervisory skills and computing.
  • Management staff need skills in business and management, personnel management, legal knowledge, planning and organising, health and safety management, communications, budgeting and finance, and ICT and computing.

National and regional data:

  • East of England – There are an estimated 4,100 employees in the regional workforce, in around 350 businesses.
  • South East – There are an estimated 4,000 employees in the regional workforce, in around 600 businesses.
  • Yorkshire and the Humber – There are an estimated 4,000 employees in the regional workforce, in around 300 businesses.
  • London – There are an estimated 3,300 employees in the regional workforce, in around 200 businesses.
  • East Midlands – There are an estimated 2,400 employees in the regional workforce, in 250 around businesses.
  • North West – There are an estimated 2,200 employees in the regional workforce, in around 300 businesses.
  • South West – There are an estimated 1,700 employees in the regional workforce, in around 300 businesses.
  • West Midlands – There are an estimated 1,700 employees in the regional workforce, in around 300 businesses.
  • Scotland – There are an estimated 1,650 employees in the regional workforce, in around 250 businesses.
  • North East – There are an estimated 1,000 employees in the regional workforce, in around 100 businesses.
  • Wales – There are an estimated 750 employees in the regional workforce, in around 100 businesses.
  • Northern Ireland – There are an estimated 300 employees in the regional workforce, in around 50 businesses.

Pay scales in this industry are variable, so the following only provides an indication of the average salaries paid to some full-time positions:

  • A new fence installer can earn between £11,000 - £15,000 a year
  • Experienced fence installers can earn from £18,000 to over £20,000

Further information on salaries can be found on the Defra website.

Source: Lantra AACS LMI report 2010