Demand for site labour shows “V-shaped” recovery

Grant Prior 4 years ago
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Demand for labour in the UK construction industry has recovered to 79% of pre-lockdown capacity.

Data from the industry’s biggest payer of subcontractors Hudson Contract shows 117,591 payments to freelance operatives in August, compared to a peak of 149,067 in February and a trough of 80,625 in April.

Managing director Ian Anfield said the bounce-back points to a V-shaped recovery for the construction sector.

He said: “There is no shortage of work for highly skilled tradespeople, whether they are groundworkers, bricklayers, plasterers or plumbers.

“Building sites are becoming more productive per head and the quality of work is improving because they only have the best people working on them.

“Building firms have been tightening up on surplus labour because their margins are being squeezed by main contractors asking for discounts, social distancing measures on site and larger projects splitting into smaller schemes.”

Anfield added the remaining proportion of people are choosing not to return to work as a result of state support schemes or seeking opportunities in other sectors.

Overall, average weekly earnings for subcontractors slipped by 1.3% to £877 during the month of August, a similar drop to last year’s holiday season.

Hudson is supplying statistics to the Bank of England to keep policymakers updated with real-time insights on demand for skilled labour.

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