The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 25 April 2014

Private sector sets pace in construction recovery as skills uncertainties heighten

RICS UK Construction Market Survey, Q1 2014

The private housing sector is driving a construction industry revival in Scotland, although skills shortages threaten the pace of recovery, according to the latest RICS Construction Market Survey for Q1 2014.  

The speed at which confidence is returning to the market is revealed by the highest report in workloads since the 2007 (net balance 31 percent), with improvement being driven by the private sector and, in particular, the commercial housing sector. 

However, the ‘feel good’ factor is being tempered by a further increase in reported skills shortages across many trades and in most parts of the country. In Scotland, 43 percent of respondents believe there are insufficient numbers of Quantity Surveyors currently available to meet rising supply demands for these skilled workers. This is teamed with a net balance of 35 percent reporting a shortage of general construction professionals. 

Sarah Speirs, Director RICS Scotland, commented: “What we are seeing as the recovery takes shape is that the impact of skills shortages in parts of the country where companies failed to invest in attracting new talent or in the training of existing employees at the height of the economic downturn. Now that the upturn in workloads is broadening out across Scotland, the industry must ensure it has the capability to capitalise on these opportunities.”

Despite this, the continuing recovery in the sector will see further job gains, with 41 percent of respondents forecasting growth in construction employment during the next 12 months.

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