Keep Calm And Carry On Construction

Keep Calm And Carry On Construction

As Britain prepares to exit stage right from the EU, we look at why now is the right time to put your recruitment drive front and centre, while everyone else waits in the wings.

The British public has voted to leave Europe. The shock of abandoning the EU after 46 years may be an unsettling prospect, but that doesn’t mean that a kneejerk reaction is the best course of action. Battening down the hatches to weather the storm may be a perfectly natural human response to such uncertainty, but success in business doesn’t belong to the timid. Fortune favours the bold, after all!


There’s Nothing To See Here. Yet.

We’re still part of the EU and will continue to be so until the withdrawal negotiations are completed. That could take a couple of years and right now, nobody knows what the post-Brexit landscape will look like. We could join Norway and Switzerland by signing up to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and even remain part of the European Economic Area (EEA). But given that a lot of public votes were won by promising to restrict immigration, it may be more likely that we’ll adopt a customs union and bilateral agreements with the EU similar to those enjoyed today by Turkey. But what does Brexit mean for the construction industry?


International Investment

Investment from overseas in a post-Brexit world is one of the most unpredictable areas to consider. Experts estimate it will take two years for the UK to negotiate its exit from the UK. There’s no reason to think that construction projects that are underway will halt, but there is a question mark over the next phase of new projects. The early signs are promising; just last week, French energy company EDF announced their intention to continue investing in the £18bn development of a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C.

Several leading politicians behind the Leave campaign – including the new Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Boris Johnson – believe that the UK will retain access to the EU single market. Perhaps more importantly, our new independent status could see the UK win investment from the USA and Asiatic markets. And the Asian continent contains many of the world’s fastest growing economies, while Europe continues to struggle in its recovery from recent depressions.


Living In A Material World

In 2010, a study by the Department for Business Skills and Innovation estimated that 64{5bd4dbeb095e6afd0553a3eb2804eeb537458bfdee92d71a335bb02b85762530} of building materials were imported from the EU. After Brexit, construction firms may face new duties or quantity caps. This could lead to an increase in costs, so the smart money is already locking in preferential prices ahead of our final exit from the territory. But Brexit could be good news for British producers if public procurement legislation stipulates that supplies should be UK sourced.


Replacing Red Tape With Red, White And Blue

One of the arguments in favour of leaving the EU is that Britain’s construction industry would see a reduction in unnecessary bureaucracy that could recover the cost of leaving the union.

We’re not so sure. European environmental and health and safety legislation, for instance, is now part of UK law. Just look at the way the most recent version of the Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations enact EU Directive 1992/57/EEC regarding temporary or mobile construction sites removed the exemption for domestic clients for the first time. This stuff has become embedded into our national legislation and it would be a long and painful process to excise it.


The Skills Shortage Is Set To Become… Shorter!

No company wants to turn away business, but a shocking two-thirds of British construction companies have turned down work due to a lack of staff, according to a recent survey. The skills shortage in construction has been widely reported, but Government figures show that nearly 12{5bd4dbeb095e6afd0553a3eb2804eeb537458bfdee92d71a335bb02b85762530} of the UK industry’s 2.1m workers come from abroad – mainly from the EU.

According to the CIOB, the construction industry needs to find an additional 224,000 new recruits by 2019. Where we would traditionally cover off this shortfall with imported labour, Brexit means that workers from the EU may no longer enjoy the same freedom to work in the UK. And as a result, the skills shortage will only get worse.

That same skills shortage is already pushing up wages in the UK, with average earnings for the industry rising by more than 6 per cent in the year to October 2015. Take the European pool of workers out of the equation and the basic principle of supply and demand dictates that every single employee will command a premium in the market after Brexit.


Are You The Wolf Or The Lamb?

You could wait for the dust to settle, sure. And you might be sensible to do so. Or you could seize the initiative and press forwards while your competitors hang back. This is one of those rare opportunities that can reward risk at a corporate level.

While everyone else is waiting to see what happens, now’s the time to forge ahead with your plans for expansion. If your rivals are reluctant to hire new talent in an uncertain market, then that’s only good news for you. Now’s the time to secure the best candidates for the minimum investment and assure your future growth ahead of the market catching up.


Don’t Miss Out – Recruit Today!

Will you miss out on the best talent because you’re nervous? Don’t be – get on it! Talk to us to today to find out how you can attract the best talent at the best cost right now.