EMPLOYMENT prospects for small and medium-sized enterprises in the construction sector are continuing to deteriorate, said a survey.
More than a third of builders reported lower employment levels during the second quarter of 2012, according to the latest State of Trade Survey from the Federation of Master Builders.
The outlook is little better with 30% of construction SMEs expecting to reduce employment levels over the next six months.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB said: “The results from the latest FMB survey are particularly depressing.
“After four years of continuous recession in the SME construction sector we would hope to be seeing signs of a return to growth and new job creation, not on-going heavy job losses.”
He said: “The problems affecting the construction sector pose real problems for the wider economy, not just because of the direct cost of unemployment but because of the impact on the industry’s skills base.
“Evidence from past recessions shows that when people leave the construction industry they tend not to return when the economy recovers.
“This leaves the construction industry short of skills which in turn delays projects and forces up prices when demand returns to the market."
Said Mr Berry: “To help construction SMEs create jobs and promote growth in the construction sector, the Government needs to be making bolder policy decisions on a range of policy issues such as reform of the current procurement rules, incentives to promote the forthcoming Green Deal retrofit initiative and a targeted drive to increase house building.
“Construction industry procurement is a particularly onerous and costly process for small building companies and more must be done to prevent the exclusion of the small businesses that typically use local materials, local labour and promote the development of local skills.
“Both central and local government need to recognise that value for money is not just about the lowest cost.”