What are the main areas of growth?

31 October 2016 by Catherine Nelms, Content Executive

It’s that time of year again.  The FIA has released the results of its bi-annual Market Conditions Survey, which highlights some rather surprising trends within our industry over the past six months.

Of course, within the last 6 months there have been a lot of changes in both the political and economic stratosphere: a new Prime Minister, a vote to leave the EU, and a drop in the value of the Pound Sterling.  But how will this affect business?

We have asked respondents to the Market Conditions survey to give us their insights to business since the last survey 6 months ago.  There were some interesting results, the main one being the view that Brexit would have no impact on business:

 

Results of 'Will Brexit impact your business?'

Results from the Market Conditions Survey, Wave 7


CEO Ian Moore stated during last week’s webinar on the results of the Market Conditions Survey (Wave 7) that this was a positive attitude to have, stating that throughout the transition out of the EU, the FIA will ‘support businesses as we always have’, even though the graph shows ‘a slight decline in sales enquiries this time around’.

 

 

However, for exporters, the referendum seems not have had much of an impact – export businesses reported that they had grown either ‘slightly more’ or ‘stayed the same’.  As ever, the FIA will continue its work alongside DIT (the new name for UKTI) and BSi as well as other bodies to continue to serve the members and the industry trade overseas.

Additionally, Ian commented on the need for new skilled labour in the industry.  Below, the graph shows that there is still a good appetite for training but there is still a shortage of skilled engineers entering the industry.  You can see from the graph below that there is an intention for businesses to increase the levels of training in the next 6 months. 

 

Market conditions review results

 

However, there are a number of comments that arose during the survey that echoed a worried and almost desperate concern over the lack of quality engineers:

“Good engineers are still almost impossible to find on the open recruitment market. In our case, this seems to be particularly so in the M1 corridor.”

“Recruitment of engineers is becoming more difficult and salaries are higher so I take that as a sign of an upturn in the economy.” 

“Skilled labour is hard to find and comes with a premium. Companies should therefore look to the future and invest in apprenticeships and implement multi-skilled training programmes for existing engineers. The results of which will improve customer experience while reducing project costs.” 

“Due to increased routes to market of fire vendors and increased number of installers quoting for fire jobs, price pressure is increasing across the board, this is reducing margins for distributers and installers alike and this creates an offset between profit requirements and the obvious need for training of installers. Is the FIA aware of the pressure and are there plans to tackle this issue?”

Ian Moore highlighted that in order to solve this issue we must realise that the lack of skilled labour is a nationwide problem, and we must act now.  He highlighted the need for to educate the wider world of the industry to gain interest in new careers within the industry and also for companies to back apprenticeship schemes and training.

“We are not known as an industry by people leaving school or university that you’d naturally go to, and we need to make sure that we raise our profile […] there is a problem right now, quite clearly, so we must change and invest {…}.  Right now, the training IS available, the apprenticeships ARE available, but we need to make sure that these are more taken up by everybody in the future, and this will solve this medium to long-term problem,” he said.

In the webinar, Ian also discussed the possibility of making certification mandatory to improve competence of engineers, as well as many other areas.  You can watch the whole webinar for free by clicking below, or download the report.

>> Watch the webinar with Ian Moore discussing the results of the survey >>
>> Download the Market Conditions Survey Results and read for yourself >>