According to a recent survey carried out by Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index, figures show that in December companies across the construction sector recorded the fastest rise in new order volumes for almost 11 months.
From this, nearly half of survey respondents predicted a rise in orders throughout 2017, with stronger demand patterns resulting in increased job creation and a broad-based upturn in business activity.
However, the construction sector continued to experience what the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) called “intense cost pressures” due to the higher cost of imported raw materials. This latest rise in overall input costs was the steepest for more than five years, offsetting the good work done by companies across the industry.
Residential building activity remained the best performing sub-category at the end of 2016, with work on civil engineering projects dramatically picking up. This has led to many more engineering roles becoming available towards the end of last year and into 2017. However commercial construction increased only marginally with fewer large-scale commercial project roles becoming available.
Reports from survey respondents cited rising client demand and a resilient economic backdrop, which has led to more construction recruitment across the whole sector. December saw the fastest rise in employment since May, but was still much weaker than seen on average since the jobs recovery began in mid-2013.
Meanwhile, construction companies reported a reasonably upbeat assessment for their growth prospects in 2017. Around half of the survey panel (48%) anticipate a rise in business activity during the next 12 months, while only 13% forecast a reduction. This could lead to even more employment opportunities throughout the next 12 months across a range of construction skills sets.
When asked about the recent growth, CIPS chief executive David Noble said: “Strong pipelines of new work were reported across all sub-sectors, and construction firms showed improved confidence after the impacts of uncertainty around the EU referendum.
“Prices continued on their upward inflationary trajectory, at the strongest rate for five and a half years. In response, firms have increased their stock buying to not only fulfil new orders, but also to counteract anticipated price increases throughout the year, as inflationary pressures are set to continue and the weakness of the pound persists. In the short-term at least, the sector looks set to enjoy these improved demand conditions for the coming months, which is positive news after many months of instability.”
If you’d like to see the recent range of construction jobs that Recruitment Solutions has available within the UK, please visit www.rec-solutions.net/current-jobs.