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HVCA disputes ‘bleak’ job survey

The HVCA has disputed the findings of a SummitSkills survey which predicted large scale job losses in the hvac industry this year.

The SummitSkills survey estimated there could be job losses of between 67,000 and 154,000 across the building services engineering sector in 2009.

In a 'worst case scenario', the survey predicted around two fifths of heating and ventilating engineers employed in 2008 would be out of work.

The figures were based on research carried out by the organisation among building services engineering consultants gauging how the recession will lead to the cancellation of work in the coming year and the impact this would have on jobs further along the supply chain.

HVCA head of Education and Training, Sarah Wicks said: “The survey does not give a complete picture as it only surveyed consultants. This identified a sharp decline in new build, and the survey extrapolated job losses from this. This failed to take account of the adaptability of the building service contracting sector.

“If there is no new build, contractors will move into maintenance. This move will help to preserve workloads and keep many people employed in the next year.”

The HVCA also claimed the survey failed to make a distinction between full time and agency workers, arguing that agency employees are naturally numerous during peak times and much less so when workloads fall.

“We felt this factor skewed the numbers to make the situation look more bleak than it actually is,” continued Ms Wicks.

“We felt the general message of the report was positive in that it encouraged companies to keep training and that companies investing in staff would reap the benefits when the economy comes out of recession.

“However, this was contradicted by the bleak headline job losses predicted, which we worry could discourage people from investing in staff.”