Industry dip down to election say construction leaders

Ben Milsom (left) with Gary Higgins and John Penrose MP (right)

Ben Milsom (left) with Gary Higgins and John Penrose MP (right)

Construction leaders in the South West have said they believe a recent dip in employment and growth within the industry is down to the upcoming General Election, but is only likely to be temporary.

Gary Higgins and Ben Milsom, who are Directors at GBRS Recruitment, say they have seen a slowdown in the number of housebuilders, commercial builders and civil engineers recruiting for new staff.

GBRS recently hired an independent market research firm to carry out a major report into employment intentions and regularly track growth and performance in the industry.

Their most recent findings regarding a slowdown echo a recent Markit/CIPS construction PMI report which said the sector had ‘lost some of its swagger’ with the rise in new orders easing in March compared to February.

Gary comments: “We’re at the coalface when it comes to the construction industry as we are a major supplier of labour to firms operating in this sector.

“Whilst not dramatic we have noticed a slight dip in hiring intentions and a slowdown in the number of new homes being built; and from feedback we are putting this down to some clients delaying investment and build decisions until after the election.”

Ben comments: “Despite this slight dip in employment and growth, our recent survey shows that companies are buoyant going forward and confidence amongst UK builders and construction companies is high.

“Post-election, unless a disaster ensues, we anticipate a return to normality.”

Gemma Day, who is the Director of Dowlas, a major construction firm also comments: “Running up to an election there will always be a degree of uncertainty but from the enquiries we are fielding at our commercial development sites, things look positive.

“The decision to extend Permitted Development Rights for home extensions for example is a good move for houebuilding and will most likely continue, whatever colour the government.”

GBRS have been particularly vocal over labour shortages in the construction industry. This has been partly attributed to a skills gap created through a lack of young people entering the industry; and a growing economy.

Currently celebrating three years in business, GBRS has grown from three employees to seven, and from turning over nothing to just shy of £2.5 million in this time.