Construction industry is “cautiously optimistic”

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A new survey has revealed that confidence in the construction industry has remained cautiously optimistic despite a decline in the third quarter of 2014.

A survey conducted by the Scottish Building Federation (SBF) found that overall the industry had a positive outlook about the future prospects of construction. However, there was a slight fall in the third quarter of 2014 compared to the second quarter, which was attributed to possible uncertainty over the referendum.

Despite being cautiously optimistic, 42 per cent of employers said they expected to take on more workers over the next three years.

The SBF found the average age of construction workers was currently 40. An ageing workforce could continue to pose challenges as the industry recovers from the recession.

Managing Director of SBF Vaughan Hart said: “These survey results confirm the general decline in employment the industry has experienced over the past three years.

“More encouragingly, they point to growing expectations that employment will begin to recover over the next three years.

“We’ve seen a decline in confidence this quarter but employers continue to be optimistic about future prospects for their business overall.

“I think general uncertainty created by the referendum may have had a dampening effect on confidence this quarter.

“I would expect to see industry confidence rebound next quarter, now that the referendum has taken place.”

Hart added that a reduction in the number of apprentices since the recession had affected the workforce.

“It has to be a cause for concern as we seek to re-build capacity,” he said.

“Attracting new blood into the industry must be an absolute priority.

“Proactively managing occupational health is equally important so a greater percentage of the workforce is able to keep working in the industry in good health until retirement age.”

The survey involved 76 construction firms, who completed the survey online or by post between 29 August and 17 September.

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