Employment in the construction sector grew in March as activity in the UK’s construction sector jumped to a near two-year high, according to the latest Markit/CIPS construction PMI survey. This was after employment in the sector fell in both January and February.
Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, says: “The good weather appears to have led to a surge in construction projects in March. The particularly encouraging news is that the improvement in confidence is generating more jobs, with employment rising modestly.”
However, Williamson warns that future prospects for the sector remain uncertain due to “the lack of big new projects such as Crossrail and the Olympics, which means that expectations about the year ahead continue to run well below the pre-crisis peaks.”
Speaking to Recruiter, Colin Woodward, director of recruiter Contract Scotland, agrees that a lack of major projects is holding back the sector. There is currently only one major civil engineering project of any size in Scotland – the second Forth crossing, says Woodward. This compares with “several three or four years ago”, he says.
Woodward says that the lack of such projects is leading skilled workers such as civil engineers, and project managers to look abroad for their next career opportunity.
“If the prospects don’t look good for the construction industry, I can see more people being attracted abroad by the good salaries, and better career progression abroad to make up for what they have lost in the last few years.”
As recruiter.co.uk reported last month, Contract Scotland recently launched an international division focusing on Australia to take advantage of demand for skilled staff in the country.