Electrical contractors still confident despite staff shortages

Grant Prior 2 months ago
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Engineering services contractors are still confident about work prospects next year despite economic challenges and continuing recruitment problems.

The latest Building Engineering Business Survey, backed by trade bodies ECA, BESA, SELECT and SNIPEF, revealed that 75% of firms expect to perform better in Q4 2022 than the same period last year.

Almost four out of five businesses saw their turnover stay the same or increase between April and September this year, and most seem to expect the trend to continue in the short term.

But just over half listed staff shortages as their number one or number two worry for their business while 52% highlighted shortages in electrical skills as a particular concern.

Closely following was overriding concerns about price inflation of materials as there continues to be a global shortage of semi-conductors.

ECA Director of Legal and Business Rob Driscoll said: “Today’s engineering services landscape is more complex than ever. The major increase in energy prices has significantly increased demand for certain services, but residual concerns remain over material costs for all products requiring electronics.

“Continued labour shortages and growing worries about delivering fixed priced contracts continue to keep business owners up at night. This could indicate a near future where order books appear healthy, but work is delivered at negative margins.

“Contractors should be cautious in their optimism, as the effects of economic decline in 2023 will take some time to filter through to the engineering services sector and could be felt later on.

“Wise businesses have been using the CLC Product Availability Statements to collaborate and tackle inflation in order to build on long-term sustainable delivery for clients.”

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