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Author: Tom Crane – Glenigan Economist (@TC_Glenigan)

I recently had the pleasure of attending a graduation ceremony at Nottingham University and see the latest crop of bright young architects waiting to make their mark on the UK’s building projects and infrastructure schemes. It was a day of celebration but also one to reflect on the opportunities that lie ahead. 

They have reason to be optimistic – as do the many other prospective civil engineers, surveyors and construction professionals who are entering the industry. This month’s Markit/CIPS Construction PMI found job creation at its fastest rate ever recorded by the survey, which has been running since 1997. A separate release by Markit, in conjunction with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, also hit a survey record; for growth in new salaries amid increasing difficulty finding staff. Although this survey covers the whole economy, engineers saw the fastest rise in demand with construction staff not far behind.Newsletter_BrightFuture_Jul-14

These buoyant readings have yet to be fully reflected in official data but the view ahead looks positive. The Glenigan Mid Year Construction Market Review & Forecast anticipates 7.4% growth in the value of underlying projects starts in 2014. And the bright spots should create further opportunities across the whole of the industry, particularly in the private housing, commercial, industrial and civil engineering sectors.

The rising swell of work on site and at earlier stages of the planning pipeline, coupled with the strengthening drivers which underlie the positive Glenigan forecast, means construction firms can look to the next two years and beyond with confidence. It is time to skill up and take advantage of the UK’s young talent.

The solution to the oft-cited skills shortage may in part be driven by workers from overseas or returning to the industry. But it must involve equipping the next generation with the skills and ambition to take construction forwards, whether through graduate schemes, apprenticeship programmes or direct employment and training.

It is vital that UK construction companies attract the brightest and the best despite the lure of the UK’s dominant, and often lucrative, services sector. The industry must trumpet its successes and demonstrate the real, tangible impact that the ambitious can have on our built environment. With a new wave of skyscrapers set to change the London landscape, major infrastructure investments on the horizon and housing firmly in the limelight, the adverts are already there - it’s time to sell them.

So at the mid-point of this calendar year, and culmination of the academic one, it seems like a good time to champion construction triumphs so far in 2014 – and look ahead to what the next generation will bring to the industry.

Do you think construction graduates have reason to be optimistic as they prepare to enter the workplace? Get in touch with your views on our social media channels via the icons at the top of the screen.

PR contacts:

Kirsty Maclagan (Marketing and Communications Manager)
T: +44 (0)1202 786 842│E: kirsty.maclagan@glenigan-old.thrv.uk

Tom Crane (Economist)
T: +44 (0)20 7715 6297│E: tom.crane@glenigan-old.thrv.uk

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