The UK construction industry ended 2016 on a high after successfully rebounding from the uncertainty that followed the UK’s EU referendum. In fact, as the industry looks set to grow significantly in 2017, it is proving to be one of the few ‘Brexit-proof’ sectors.
With this unhindered progress, many are predicting a significant increase in jobs. This would provide a stable career path for thousands of people across the UK, and could have positive implications for many other sectors and the overall economy. For anyone looking to start a career in construction, there has never been a better time.
2017 will see a growth in UK construction
So what does this construction boom look like? Those in the industry are cautiously optimistic about their industry’s growth prospects. In a recent survey of construction businesses, 48% of the panel anticipated a rise in work during the next 12 months, while only 13% forecast a reduction.
Healthy order books and steady trade at the end of 2016 saw the degree of business confidence reach up to a three-month high in December. The construction survey, together with a similar survey of the manufacturing sector released on Tuesday, suggested the UK economy would remain robust as we entered the new year.
One of the key building blocks of this optimism in the industry is housing, according to Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit. The future for construction looks bright, especially as the government continues their commitment to a series of projects, not least the government-backed England Garden Villages initiative, which could result in the construction of 48,000 homes across England.
There will be 100,000 additional construction jobs by 2020
A report by DKM consultants indicated that the industry would grow by 9% a year up to 2020 and said that it could sustain more than 100,000 additional jobs.
The booming construction industry looks set to impact jobs all over the UK. Housebuilding looks set to create 300 new construction jobs in West Yorkshire, whereas almost 900 jobs could be created through the second phase of a landmark city centre regeneration project in Newcastle
In London, the streets and skies are filled with cranes as construction work within the capital rises by 18%, the highest level since the financial crisis. Many established crane companies are realising benefits of this increase in demand. Alongside an increase in numbers, construction companies are also able to grow a higher skill workforce. For those already in the industry, training opportunities are becoming increasingly important to stand out from the competition. Established industry trainers Emerson Crane Hire have seen an influx of candidates from across the South East of England in their London based crane operator training courses.
Construction will remain strong post-Brexit
The Brexit result has caused concern for many businesses in the UK. It is predicted to impact many industries and, in the initial post-Brexit panic, some experts initially expected construction to be hit fairly hard.
Paul Manchester, director of construction site suppliers Manchester Safety Services, suggest that leaving the EU “could upset the balance and inhibit the growth and confidence within the industry.”
And Brexit has had some ramifications in the industry. The weaker pound has driven up material costs to their highest in five and half years. Despite this, the UK construction industry enjoyed the fastest growth in new orders in almost a year at the end of 2016.
The sector looks set to enjoy these improved demand conditions for the coming year. Those initial post-Brexit concerns seem to be, as of yet, unfounded, and the economic picture looks distinctly brighter than the one painted following the referendum in June.
In a time when job security is somewhat uncertain in a lot of sectors, construction offers a promising shot in the arm for jobseekers looking for long-term job security.