Construction firms in East ‘to create 20,000 jobs by 2019’

Private housing is expected to be a major driver of new jobs in the construction sector over the nex

Private housing is expected to be a major driver of new jobs in the construction sector over the next five years, according to the CITB. - Credit: Getty Images/BananaStock RF

Construction companies in the East of England are out-performing their rivals in most other parts of the UK, according to a new survey.

And the figures from R3, the trade body for insolvency professionals, coincide with a report from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) which predicts that more than 4,000 new jobs will be created by the sector in the region each year up to 2019.

R3 says that January has been “a month of optimism” for construction firms in the East of England, leaving them more financially stable than their peers in most other UK regions and nations. Only one in four (25%) of the region’s construction firms have an “above normal” insolvency risk, according to R3, a figure well below the UK average.

R3 eastern region chairman Frank Brumby said: “Looking at how local business sectors have performed in recent months, it is evident that our region is becoming more resilient to economic factors. For many, there are now sound opportunities for greater stability and growth.”

However, he warned that, while the risk of insolvency in construction was lower in the east compared with most other parts of the UK, a significant number of firms were in financial difficulty.

And he added: “For those able to embrace the growth that should come with improved economic conditions, a close eye must be kept on cash flow. There is often a temptation to over trade at this time, which can be the downfall of many a recovering business.”

The CITB says that, nationally, more than 200,000 construction jobs will be created over the next five years, with private housing, leisure and infrastructure all contributing.

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Meg Hankinson, CITB sector strategy manager for the East of England, said, “This report is terrific news for the region and shows the construction industry is making a strong comeback.

“Worryingly, though, construction is facing a skills gap, with projects potentially held back due to a lack of skilled workers. That’s why CITB is working with industry to attract the next generation of workers and encourage skilled tradespeople who left the industry in the recession to return.

“This positive forecast shows that now is the right time to start, or return, to a rewarding career in construction.”