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Last updateThu, 04 Apr 2024 11am

RICS UK Construction Market Survey, Q1 2014

The private housing sector is driving a construction industry revival, 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 fastest rate of growth in workloads since the Construction Market survey began in 1994 (net balance 43 percent), with improvement being driven by the private sector and, in particular, the commercial housing sector over the next 12 months. Most significantly, the effects are expected to be felt across the whole of the UK, rather than exclusively reserved to the London and South East hotspots. In the North of England, 44 percent of respondents reported rising workloads, up from 40 percent at the end of 2013.

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. Across the North, 44 percent of quantity surveyors reported having labour shortages, up from 34 percent in the last quarter. Among other construction professionals, the shortfall was felt to be even more severe, with 43 percent reporting difficulties in hiring labour – up from 28% at the end of 2013. A quarter (25%) of professionals reported that skilled construction workers were also in short supply.

Furthermore, the national pictures shows 41% of respondents believe there are insufficient numbers of Quantity Surveyors currently available to meet rising supply demands for these skilled workers.  

Despite this, the continuing recovery in output in the sector will see further job gains with respondents forecasting a 3% year on year growth in the employment footprint – an additional 62,000 new employees being recruited into the construction industry. 

Alan Muse, RICS Director of Built Environment, commented:

“Clearly 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 industry is experiencing an upturn in workload that is broadening out across the whole of the UK, it must ensure it has the capability to capitalise on these opportunities.”