27th January 2017 • Fiona Corbett
After reading a recent article looking into an existing regional divide in construction and property prices, it got us thinking… the South is often described as the dominating region with regards to construction, but is this really the case? From our point of view, it seems as though UK construction and jobs in particular, are experiencing national prosperity rather than a negative divide. This is all thanks to an array of developments set to take place throughout 2017 and beyond.
As Recruitment Consultants specialising in the construction sector across the UK (predominantly the South and the Midlands), we often see a range of positives and areas of future prosperity throughout all regions. There tends to be a variety of job opportunities across the entire sector and salaries generally remain fruitful thanks to upcoming projects and initiatives set to take place nationally.
With Phoebe often heading up recruitment throughout the South and South West and Fiona’s experience in recruitment throughout the Midlands, we’d like to give our perspectives on regional construction and jobs in particular. Perhaps the supposed regional divide is not quite as vast as so frequently reported?
Phoebe: The South
As many of my roles can often cover the Southern regions, I have a good understanding of the construction industry across this locality. Generally, I see that construction jobs throughout the South are thriving and in their plenty, which is always massively positive.
With regard to a possible regional jobs divide, it’s true that construction salaries in the South may be slightly higher in some cases and can often be hugely competitive. Of course, this is always a great pull factor for construction professionals working throughout the Southern regions. Although it’s important to note that higher salaries are generally due to the greater costs of living that are expected of areas such as the South East of England. For example, this region can see some of the highest property prices in the UK.
Salary aside, it’s a very exciting time for the construction industry nationally with many new projects set to take place throughout 2017 and onwards; the South really seems to be seeing the benefits of this. The residential sector in particular is expected to create huge amounts of work through the construction of new housing in line with ambitious government initiatives. One example of the proposed residential schemes is the plan to build 90,000 new affordable homes in London. Another example being the garden villages planned for certain areas throughout the Southern regions.
Of course, these upcoming regional construction developments are great for keeping the sector economically buoyant and the building of new homes will be fundamental to tackling UK housing shortages. But most notably, this will only have a positive impact upon jobs and in turn, salaries throughout the South.
From my perspective, the South is experiencing great prosperity; jobs are in their plenty and construction professionals are being rewarded with competitive, market-leading salaries. However, as Fiona will go on to explain, the Midlands are not to be disregarded either!
Fiona: The Midlands
A large proportion of my roles are based throughout the Midlands, which means that I frequently see the growth and prosperity of the construction sector throughout this region. There is vast potential for the future of construction here as it’s an area of consistent growth; this is predominantly down to a rise in housebuilding. As Phoebe highlighted, residential development is playing a massive part in the current state of the construction sector and this is definitely true of the Midlands.
In fact, the West Midlands are surpassing many areas of the UK in construction growth with housing being the key driver. In a recent RIC’s survey, 30% more Chartered Surveyors reported that construction workloads across the Midlands had risen rather than fallen. And what comes with increased growth? Plenty of jobs across the region! In this respect, it seems that the Midlands do not lag behind the South.
This prosperity in the housing sector in particular, looks only to be set to continue as future plans seem full of promise with regard to keeping up the rapid work pipeline. As Phoebe outlined, the garden village scheme is also set to take place throughout the Midlands, with Lancashire a confirmed location. By local control being handed to local councils thanks to the “devolution deal” outlined in last year’s Autumn Statement, it looks as though we can expect further housing developments cropping up across the region.
Although the residential sector is proving fruitful regionally, non-residential developments also look set to boom over the next coming year. This includes drives to facilitate more retail, leisure and general public infrastructure. An example of this being the £110m designer shopping outlet planned for the West Midlands this year, which will be the largest of its kind.
From my perspective, the Midlands are a great location for construction. Jobs in particular are flourishing in light of the exciting developments which are taking place among the residential and non-residential sectors and more often than not, salaries do remain competitive.
The Midlands, alongside the Northern regions, have been described as lagging behind in comparison to the South of the UK. However from my point of view, the construction industry in this area is booming – this seems to be especially true on the job front.
Regional Construction: Is There a Divide?
There are many areas for positive growth across the entirety of the sector thanks to a boom in construction projects and residential construction specifically. As we’ve emphasised, the widespread projects are indicative to jobs and construction prosperity nationally.
We have of course, only referred to our own experiences of the regional job market and the status of projects and developments as we see them, so we’d love to hear your thoughts in order to gain a better glimpse at the bigger picture. Is there a regional divide within the construction sector from where you stand? Does your region ever impact your work within the construction field?
Phoebe and Fiona would love to hear your comments and thoughts on the topic, so do feel free to get in touch. Alternatively, you can reach us on Twitter @ThatcherAssoc.
If you’re interested in construction job opportunities throughout the UK (whether that be throughout the South, Midlands or elsewhere), do check out our current job vacancies here.
Show House Magazine – December 2016 Issue, p.28