Confidence within the construction industry is sky-high currently with the combined IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI Total Activity Index for May 2021 at 64.2, the highest for over 7 years.
The breakdown shows that house building was the highest performing sector at 66.3 followed closely by commercial work at 64.4, the highest for almost 14 years, highlighting strong demand, after customer-facing arenas in the UK economy started to open up. Civil engineering also grew highly to 61.3.
The construction industry remained positive about its growth projections over the next 12 months with over 61% of surveyed managers noting an expected rise in investment in the industry. Just 8% expected a fall in growth.
Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply said: “The construction sector continued its expansion programme with a phenomenal acceleration in growth and the strongest for seven years as new orders filled in at the fastest rate for almost a quarter of a century.
“Residential work was back in the top spot as house building rose at the quickest pace since August 2014, serving as an antidote to the recent scarcity in housing for lets or buy, and driven by consumer demand and a boost from the stamp duty holiday.”
Another strong indicator was the supplier delivery times increasing sharply in May due to a combination of high demand, well reported materials shortage and raw material’s inflation edging up sharply.
Mr Brock cautiously added: “Skills shortages are also becoming a problem with recruiters finding talented labour hard to find, as job creation was at robust levels and the threat of staffing cutbacks has become a distant memory.”
However, Manny Hussain, Managing Director at Recruiteasy, a specialist recruiter for construction trades and labour, reassured construction firms: “By being well prepared, building and construction firms can beat the skills and labour shortage by deploying a sensible strategy right now to pre-empt any issues.
“Recruiters that specialise in finding the right construction workers to track and fulfil the needs of their clients, and who focus on establishing strong relationships, can be a great boon for firms as these recruiters already have large databases of such workers on their books.
“By hiring and developing such relationships with a specialist construction recruitment agency, firms can alleviate the chronic shortage of trades and labour and get to the head of the queue.”