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B&ES research reveals employment levels expected to rise

Employment levels are expected to rise again during the second six months of 2012, according to new research from B&ES.

Most of the respondents said they expected to see a rising demand for renewable technologies as grounds for optimism and future investment in skills.

The recent findings of the State of Trade Survey suggest that there has also been a drop in workload for one in three contractors during the first six months of 2012.

Small and medium-sized construction contractors are increasingly vulnerable due to falling workloads, tighter margins and rising costs.

The survey considered the key factors influencing the industry across the UK, and found that the North-east of England, Yorkshire and Scotland were the worst hit regions with residential heating and ductwork the market sectors under greatest pressure.

However, members in the North West & West Midlands, London & South East, and the Eastern Counties & East Midlands, together with the larger companies have all seen the greatest improvements in enquiries.

According to B&ES, half of the respondents said that tender prices were lower than six months ago, but the cost of materials had risen.

Direct employment has fallen across the sector and 61 per cent said they had not taken on an apprentice or trainee in the past year. 

B&ES members said the biggest negative impact on their businesses came from “late payment, tight margins and insolvency further up the contractual chain”.