Construction SMEs prove resilient in the face of Covid-19


Construction SMEs are leading the recovery in the industry, as they prove to be more resilient than their larger counterparts, according to analysis from Hudson Contract

Construction SMEs have proven to be more resilient during the economic downturn than their larger counterparts.

New analysis from Hudson Contract suggests that large firms have cut 30% of subcontractors since the week before lockdown.

SMEs appear to have recovered more strongly and are using 21% fewer subcontractors.

Construction SMEs,

‘More resilient, agile and adaptive’

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “Our figures show how SMEs are leading the recovery in the construction industry.

“Smaller companies are proving more resilient, agile and adaptive to the new circumstances and are investing in skilled subcontractors to retain productive labour and finish jobs.

“They will help Britain to build the new homes and infrastructure we need to ensure a sustainable economic recovery.”

Anfield added: “By contrast, large construction firms tend to work on more complex projects which have been hit harder by the downturn.

“They are also reporting a shortage of labour as a result of generous Government support schemes.”

The activity levels of large firms have recovered since the depths of lockdown when the average number of subcontractors paid fell by 77%.

Meanwhile, the average number used by smaller firms dipped by 66%. Hudson compared the average number of freelance tradespeople paid in the weeks commencing 16 March, 20 April and 20 July.

The analysis reflects the labour demands of micro, small, medium and large companies that continued to operate during the period.

Overall, average weekly earnings for subcontractors recovered by 4.8% to £889 during the month of July, the highest number since March.

The best-performing regions were Wales (up 12%), Yorkshire and the Humber (up 9.9%) and the East of England and South East (both up 7.8%).

Region July 2020


Month on Month

% Change

Year on Year

% Change

North East £750 -1.3% -3.6%
North West £825 2.2% -5.4%
Yorkshire and the Humber £836 9.9% -3.6%
East Midlands £876 7.4% -7.1%
West Midlands £922 3.9% -6.2%
Wales £915 12.0% 12.0%
East of England £966 7.8% 1.9%
London £899 -2.8% -2.1%
South East £958 7.8% 3.8%
South West £880 0.2% 8.8%


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