The Financial Times has reported that City of London economists have predicted a 14.3% rise in GDP for Q3, – which will have a positive impact on the Construction industry, according to recruitment specialist Simon Robinson, co-founder of Red Diamond Executive Headhunters, who have many clients throughout the construction and construction product industry.
Although during lockdown building activity was reduced to around 30% of normal activity, new figures have emerged showing that the industry grew at the fastest rate in almost 5 years during July and the Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index had also exceeded economists’ expectations by rising to 58.1 compared to an all-time low of 8.2 in April.
The Rightmove House Price Index has also shown that house prices rose again in August with £37 billion of property sales having been agreed in July, proving to be the busiest house buying month in 10 years.
In expectation of a busy September, there could be many opportunities for employment which is good news for workers who lost their jobs back in March. Simon stated “Rishi Sunak’s decision to scrap stamp duty on homes below the £500,000 mark has proved to be a catalyst in getting the industry moving again. Another plus point is that the government has moved to support smaller businesses through favourable loan terms and while nobody wants to rack up debt, equally it’s vital that businesses aren’t forced to pull out of developments.
“Construction companies still have KPIs to meet, particularly in the lower echelons of the market, with starter homes especially in demand. Therefore, the appetite is there to reopen the market and I would expect to see a very busy autumn of activity, albeit with changes to the number of people allowed on site to enable social distancing.
“Britain is a proud building nation and, as we are told that people need to spend their money, what better investment is there than a house? First-time buyers especially can get great mortgage terms with no stamp duty – which means they can in turn spend more on their furniture and fittings.”
Simon also added that the impact of Brexit may mean that with restrictions being put into force on foreign labour coming into the UK, there will be more opportunities created for workers who were laid off in March to be re-employed.
Many companies incurred pay cuts to senior management so that they could keep their workforce employed so there is unlikely to be a high volume of recruitment for higher positions. Simon went on to say “The current wave of optimism extends beyond home construction. Within the construction product industry, we now have a unique opportunity to address the issue of quantity over quality. British manufacturing is revered throughout the world and now is the time to reap the rewards of a backlash on cheap foreign imports.
“The UK needs to invest now in its home-grown producers rather looking elsewhere for the cheapest option. UK-made products may cost more but it’s money well spent and the ‘made in Britain’ stamp is rightly associated with quality and longevity.
“It’s time to move away from the false economy of buying the cheapest item on the market. Imagine, for instance, you fix a leaking sink with a cheap valve, then go away on holiday – you could come back to a flooded home.
“In the UK, we manufacture a vast range of materials used in the construction industry, from plaster board and glass to wood products and valves. The government now needs to step up its support for the product manufacturing side of the sector – lowering tax in the long-term, for instance – to encourage businesses to invest.”