The construction industry in Northern Ireland is being hit by a double whammy of labour shortages and high costs as it looks to get back on its feet after the pandemic. People who previously worked in the construction sector here are finding more lucrative work in other areas which is causing businesses no end of trouble in recruiting. And with material costs continuing to rise it has meant that the sector has had a tough time, certainly according to the latest reports researching the last quarter of 2021. This contrasts unfavourably with the rest of the UK where things seem to be on the up.
Construction Professionals Finding Better Paid Jobs Elsewhere
Jim Sammon, a spokesman for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, is quoted in an article on the Belfast Telegraph website, saying:
“The reality is that with the new-found ability to work from home, many construction professionals can find better paying jobs outside of NI while living in the low cost of living environment here. This is a new and challenging development for the sector.
“The long-term fix is to the skills challenge is to attract more younger people to the sector but that may be insufficient to address the immediate problem which significantly, is being reflected in expectations for a sharp uplift in wage costs over the next year.”
Concerns Around Skilled Labour Are Not Going Away
He went on to say in the article that:
“The concerns around labour and in particular, skilled labour, are just not going away, and appear to be even more acute here than elsewhere. It is very concerning that NI surveyors are less upbeat about the year ahead than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK.
“There is also a need for government to support the sector through, for instance greater consistency in procurement and other measures. But first and foremost, we need stable government and ministers making decisions for the benefit of the economy.”
In the same article, Michael McCord, senior partner at Tughans, said that:
“It is very concerning that local surveyors, unlike their counterparts elsewhere in the UK, expect workloads to stagnate over the next year and profit margins to be eroded.
“The latest political instability only adds further uncertainty for the sector at a difficult time.”
The sector needs all the support it can get right now, let us hope this year will see an upturn in its fortunes. Meanwhile if you need any help with your own business in terms of accountancy or business planning etc please get in touch with our dedicated team on 028 3752 2909.