Recruitment remains a concern but the construction sector remains optimistic

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A new study has revealed the construction industry is more positive about the economy than other sectors but remains concerned about recruitment

The Business Consensus 2017 has revealed that construction firms are struggling with recruitment but remain upbeat about the economy.

According to the figures more than half of firms have a positive outlook regarding the economy. At 66 per cent, this figure is higher than for any other major industry.

The survey, which is conducted annually by business data website Company Check, asked 1,300 firms to respond. It found there was a positive outlook over economic issues, particularly in relation to Brexit, but difficulties recruiting skilled workers remained.

According to the data, only a quarter of construction firms said the vote to leave the EU had negatively impacted their business. Some 11 per cent said the decision had been positive for them, while 61 per cent revealed it had no bearing on their business whatsoever.

Company Check’s Katie Deverill said: “The Business Census lets us ‘take the temperature’ of the UK’s construction industry to understand the big challenges they’re going to be facing during the next 12 months.

“The findings show Brexit hasn’t had the chilling effect that it’s had in other areas, with high levels of optimism for the year ahead.

“However there’s also high levels of disaffection with local authorities when it comes to them supporting and nurturing business growth.

“The powers that be should take note of these figures and recognise that something in the current system just isn’t working.”

Growth

Figures also remained positive for growth, with 74 per cent of firms expecting to see expansion. Comparatively, this figure was 64 per cent in 2016, and across all industries it was 73 per cent. Furthermore, only 18 per cent of construction companies said they were concerned about the economy next year.

These figures mean the construction sector is the most optimistic industry.

Recruitment

Finding skilled workers remains an issue for many construction companies. Last year more businesses (25 per cent) than any other sector said they were affected by recruitment problems.

Commenting on the figures, Construction Industry Council chairman Professor John Nolan said: “I am not at all surprised by these figures.

“My practice registered a substantial boom in new enquiries immediately following the EU referendum result and that level of increased enquires has continued.

“Most of my peers in Built Environment Professions have also reported an increase in enquires.

“Our biggest concern now is finding sufficient quality staff to meet this increased demand.”

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