The results of the first Place North West Construction Leaders’ Survey, in association with Cowgill Holloway, show an industry full of confidence but worried about recruiting and retaining the right staff.
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The inaugural survey found that 85% of leaders felt their business was performing on or ahead of target.
Three in five business leaders who responded in the survey said funding in their target market had improved.
Stuart Stead, partner and head of property and construction at Cowgill Holloway, said: “With this survey we wanted to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by the construction industry in 2015 and on the whole the feedback has been extremely positive. Of course, there are still a number of concerns, but the worries from the recession seem to be receding with the outlook turning to one of optimism and confidence.”
Opportunities for growth exist across all sectors of the market with leaders citing commercial, residential, energy, and infrastructure on their target list of potential revenue streams.
However, respondents did report uncertainty over financing with underlying wobbles in the supply chain, material cost inflation and client stability all still a cause for worry.
With the need for talented staff, companies that participated in the report said there was a shortage of talent in the region – and with all participants identifying a need to increase staff levels in the next year, this could pose a significant challenge for an industry that is craving an injection of good strong employees across a range of sectors and specialisms.
The survey was carried out during May 2015 by Place North West and was completed by 137 senior executives. The online questionnaire was designed to evaluate the market, uncover priorities and identify areas of concern within the industry. Participants provided feedback in relation to financing, property sectors, geographical coverage. There was extensive feedback about the issues relating to staffing and the knock-on impact on management and systems.
The findings demonstrated a turn-around in the growth of the private sector, now providing a growing percentage of work for the industry; an area which will be closely monitored over the next 12 months – the survey will be repeated in 2016 – to identify whether the reliance on public sector work continues to abate as the private market gathers momentum.
Stead concluded: “The survey has been extremely interesting, demonstrating a recovering marketplace with a lot of optimism out there for the future. There is still a strong underlying message of a frustrating labour market and a competitive landscape but on the whole the future is looking good. The industry is still obviously feeling the effects of the recession so it will be interesting to see how the feedback will change in 12 months’ time as the positive momentum continues.”