To better understand the state of the industry and how prepared TRA members are for future challenges around the economy, net-zero targets and recruitment, the TRA’s first State of the Industry survey was sent to members to learn about their businesses and plans.
The survey has revealed several concerns within the industry. Businesses reported mixed signals in confidence levels, limited progress on net zero strategies, and room for improvement in diversity and inclusion.
Business confidence for the next 12 months: mixed signals
Over 80% of members are concerned about current economic conditions with the majority of members not expecting housebuilding to improve in the next year. 42% of members said energy costs have had a high impact on businesses. However, 42% said it had only a slight impact.
Some members are responding to challenges by investing in new technologies and working methods to mitigate these costs, 50% of respondents expressed their likelihood to invest in or implement new technologies or new ways of working in their business. This positive development could help businesses become more efficient and productive.
54% of respondents do not expect any change in staff headcount over the next year, and 38% expect a slight increase, indicating that most members are not planning on any significant growth.
When asked about the government ‘returnerships’ programme to attract older workers, 50% of companies are unsure about implementation, while 2% have already expressed interest. This may be a lack of understanding of the government’s programme, or members are concerned about balancing headcount for their business.
81% of companies do not currently employ any apprentices, while 19% employ between 1 and 5. This suggests a worrying lack of investment in new talent in the sector. Further, whilst 42% say that employees in their business undertake CPD/training sometimes, 23% say they never undertake CPD. Taken together, this suggests a potential for a growing skills gap as time goes on.
38% of companies stated that a working relationship with local schools or colleges to help with recruitment is unsuitable for them. This indicates a potential gap in collaboration between educational institutions and businesses. Such partnerships can be mutually beneficial, allowing companies to tap into a pool of talented individuals while providing students with valuable exposure to real-world work environments.
A strategy for net zero is needed
65% of respondents considered it very or slightly important to have a net zero strategy plan, and 31% provided a neutral response.
However, there is still some way to go for businesses to achieve their net zero goals. 48% of respondents are pursuing carbon reduction as part of their current business strategy, while another 48% are currently not.
Additionally, 43% of respondents have been asked about environmental or carbon savings by their customers, while 57% have yet to receive such inquiries. These statistics indicate an increasing need to supply carbon emission data to contractors who may need to report carbon emissions on their projects for ESG and funding requirements.
From the survey, we have learnt that 62% of respondents have yet to progress with their net-zero strategy for their business, followed by 27% who have a draft strategy in discussion and only 12% who have an approved strategy. Contractors are increasingly being asked to report on the carbon emissions of their supply chains, so this is an area we expect members to have to improve on as time goes on.
Diversity and inclusion: progress, but more to be done
Over 65% of respondents reported being informed about the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and 35% said it was very important to them that their company has a diverse workforce. However, only 35% of respondents said that their company has a formal diversity and inclusion strategy in place, indicating that there is still more to be done.
There is a lack of ethnically diverse management among member companies, as three-quarters of respondents admitted that they do not have anyone from an ethnically diverse background in their management team. This statistic demonstrates the need for action to improve diversity and inclusion within the industry. By failing to address this issue, businesses may miss out on growth opportunities.
Overall, the survey results suggest that businesses face some challenges but more needs to be done in several areas, including net zero goals and workforce diversity. Here are some recommendations for businesses based on the survey results:
- Develop a net zero strategy focused on the measurement of carbon in your products so you can provide data and benchmarks for potential customers
- Consider a formal diversity and inclusion strategy. This will help businesses to attract and retain top talent.
- Foster relationships with local educational institutes to identify future workers.
- Explore options in new technologies and ways of working. This could help businesses to become more efficient and productive, which will be essential in the face of rising costs and supply chain disruptions.
By taking these steps, TRA members can begin to move closer to achieving net zero and also attract new talent to the business. Full details on the survey results can be found by logging into the TRA members portal; this is exclusively for existing TRA members.