It would be easy (and understandable) to be despondent at the direction of travel in the country at the moment. As the second wave washes over us, the criticisms grow louder and louder. However, cool analysis (in short supply) shows that not every sector is as badly affected as retail, hospitality/entertainment, airlines and events. Although hard times lie ahead, many sectors, construction included, have learned to live with the virus.
There are reasons to be cheerful – and reasons to maintain that cheerfulness. Here are three of them…
ONE: the Aug/September REC/Markit data show that, for the UK as a whole, construction and engineering are (with IT), leading the charge in the perm market (see left). Across the entire country, both perm and temp billings are up in general, with the perm figures the strongest for nearly two years. To no-one’s surprise, hotel & catering and retail are struggling and likely to get worse as further lockdowns bite.
TWO: when we look at the RBS/Markit report for Scotland (below), the perm jobs market for Construction / Engineering sector is not quite back to where we want, but it is closing in on the magic figure of 50 (which indicates growth). However, this, in many respects, is more than compensated for by the temp market for construction/engineering, with only blue collar jobs (distribution/delivery drivers one suspects) outperforming our sector.
THREE: these figures reflect what we see at Peace, where, because we have trades, contractors and perm divisions, we know what’s happening in every area of the market – and we are seeing growth in all three. We’re not complacent: we know there are going to be lots of candidates looking for jobs as the government support schemes wind down. But if you suspect that you may be soon seeking a new job don’t despair. The Markit figures for recruitment are the result of confidential data submitted by Peace and hundreds of other recruitment firms. They tell us that there are jobs and the soundings we take from our clients – big and small – tell us that this will continue. Crucially, we’ve learned to live with the effects of the virus, and so should you. Construction will have its troubles in the future, but it’s going to be key to our path out of this crisis.
Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment