UK Government has officially acknowledged a skills shortage within the landscape profession. LI Policy & Influencing Manager, Hannah Garrow, outlines what this means for members and practitioners.

Image Credit: University of Greenwich

In a written statement yesterday, the Home Office confirmed that the UK Government will be adding landscape architects to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).  This is an important change which the LI has been lobbying for.

Government are accepting in-full the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report.  The MAC published their review of the SOL in May 2019, recommending that the list be expanded to include “architects” (SOC code 2431, which includes landscape architects). Architecture ranked 7th in the shortage indicators with above-average vacancy rates.

The report followed a call for evidence in December 2018, to which many landscape businesses and members responded. This campaign was effective: architecture shortages were mentioned 62 times in the evidence submitted, the majority of comments focusing on landscape architects.

The evidence noted that recruitment, especially at a senior level, has become much more difficult over the past few years. This echoes the findings of the LI’s Future of Landscape (2018) report which found that 41% of practice heads reported recruitment as a key challenge.

What does this mean for our members?

The Shortage Occupation List consists of occupations that are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers. Occupations on this list are authorised by the MAC.  The list covers all the devolved administrations in the UK.

Employers recruiting for role on the Shortage Occupation List gain three major advantages:

  • The company is not required to go through the Resident Labour Market Test when advertising vacancies, saving time and money.
  • Jobs advertised are not required to meet the 5-year salary threshold for settlement which is currently £35,000.
  • If the migration limit for Tier 2 (General) visas is reached in any period, priority is given to roles on the list.

The new SOL featuring landscape architecture is expected to be published in late 2019 / early 2020.

What is the LI doing?

The MAC recommendation noted that the current shortages can be overcome in the foreseeable future through continued change in recruitment practices, pay and other measures to increase occupational attractiveness of the industry. The evidence submitted highlighted the importance of partnering with schools and universities as a means to futureproof the profession.

The LI launched our #ChooseLandscape campaign last year and are working actively with universities on accredited courses and with members through our ambassadors programme to promote the benefits of choosing a career as a landscape professional.

In the past year we have also supported a trailblazer group of employers to create apprenticeship programmes in England which will be available from 2020, and are committed to exploring similar opportunities in the other UK nations.

To discuss skills shortages or #ChooseLandscape please contact


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