Investment in infrastructure driving roles for engineering contractors
By Giant Group
The latest analysis of our contractor database examined the engineering arena and found some extremely positive results. According to the study, the vast majority of contractors in this sector expect the number of opportunities to increase over the coming months. But what is driving this upturn in sentiment?
One of the largest contributing factors behind the growing optimism amongst engineering contractors is the increased investment into UK infrastructure that was recently announced by the Government. The new 15billionRoad Investment Strategy was unveiled during the Autumn Statement and aims to increase the capacity and improve the condition of the UKs road networks. In addition to this, there are also a number of ongoing or soon-to-commence projects that aim to develop the transport networks in the country. Perhaps the most high-profile of these is the Crossrail programme, which is currently Europes largest construction site and has created roles for thousands of contractors in a range of disciplines. When completed, the railway line will provide a quick route across the capital that should build a solid grounding for further economic growth.
While this project is already underway and has been driving demand for contractors for some time now, there are a number of other major projects in the pipeline that are also contributing to the upturn in sentiment. The HS2 rail line, for example, aims to connect the North and South of England and has been labelled the most significant transport infrastructure project since the building of the motorways. As well as this, there have also been mooted discussions to expand one of the pre-existing airports based around London or to develop an entirely new location in an area of the Thames Estuary that has been labelled Boris Island. And although these projects may be some way off completion, there are a number of other initiatives totalling a combined value of almost 36billion that are due to be completed by the end of 2015 that have driven demand for almost 150,000construction and engineering roles.
However, its not only the sheer number of projects that is creating demand for engineering contractors; the ongoing skills shortage is certainly playing a major part. Its been well documented that the sector has suffered from a lack of talent in recent years and this has led to an increased demand for specialist contractors. Reports from last month suggested that the UK faces a shortfall of 81,000engineering professionals every year which means that, at the current rate, the number of people entering the industry needs to double before demand is met. And with fewer and fewer individuals entering the field, the problem is only going to increase. A study by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) found that 76%of organisations had reported trouble hiring senior engineers this year, a significant increase from 48% in 2011, highlighting the growing issue.
Do you agree that an investment in infrastructure is driving contractor demand?