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Finding and retaining skilled staff is a major concern for contractors

According to the quarterly Building Engineering Business Survey, finding and retaining skilled tradespeople is the biggest worry for employers across the building engineering services sector.

The survey, which is carried out by the trade bodies BESA, ECA, SELECT and SNIPEF has found that whilst companies remain largely optimistic about business prospects for the rest of this year, the skills shortage is continuing to cause problems.

Just under half (47 per cent) of respondents said that “attracting the right calibre of people to the business” was their biggest worry while 41 per cent said their top concern was to “retain existing staff”. Almost half of firms said they had vacancies they could not fill.

One respondent said: “Finding skilled personnel is almost impossible,” and another added that “all experienced trades are in short supply.”

Inflation is another key concern with 25 per cent of firms citing the difficulty of forecasting the rate of price rises as a major drag on business confidence. With material and labour rates already priced into many contracts, contractors are struggling to make a profit. Some respondents said they were spending more time trying to renegotiate rates on existing projects than looking for new work.

Eighty-eight per cent of business leaders surveyed said they expected their turnover for the first three months of this year to be the same or higher than the same time last year. Almost seven in 10 said their turnover stayed the same or increased in the final quarter of last year compared to the previous three months.

BESA’s Director of Legal and Commercial Debbie Petford commented: “As usual, building engineering firms are showing resilience in the face of a range of major challenges. However, the skills issue is a worry as it could become a serious drag on future growth and slow down current projects.

“The country’s ageing population and workforce means our industry is in a tough competition for talent. This makes it more important than ever that we focus on recruiting from a much wider demographic than we do currently. There is also a pressing need for a wider range of skills and for us to improve our productivity as we gear up for a big push towards the country’s net zero goals.

“On the plus side, the latest market information about payment practices shows that most main contractors have improved their performance, which is giving SMEs some cash flow relief.”

Waste Management and Recycling Survey

FMJ in conjunction with Grundon Waste Management have launched the 2022 survey into how FMs approach their waste management and recycling responsibilities.

It’s the fifth year for the annual appraisal, and as we return to normal, there is a real opportunity for FMs to reappraise their waste and recycling operations and look at new, smarter waste management strategies.

In order to understand how FMs have navigated their way through the last year and their plans for meeting stringent waste and recycling targets we’ve posed a series of questions which include insights into FMs’ waste management strategy and targets, such as zero waste and landfill, the types of waste organisations produce and what helps FMs promote waste management in their organisations?

Please share your experiences and opinions on waste management. The survey will take just five minutes to complete, and as a thank you for taking part, respondents will be entered into a prize draw to win a £150 Amazon gift card.

To take part click here.

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