The FIA (Fire Industry Association) has released the results of its Market Conditions Survey, Wave 7. This survey is a snapshot of the current trends within the fire industry nationwide. Each Wave is conducted every six months with Wave 7 revealing the impact of the recent changes in the political landscape, the trends within the market, as well as other emerging issues, such as the need for more skilled engineers.
During the last six 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?
The respondents to the survey revealed that Brexit would have no impact on business (see graph).
CEO Ian Moore said 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 data 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’.
Additionally, Ian commented on the need for new skilled labour in the industry. The survey shows that there is still a good appetite for training but there is still a shortage of skilled engineers entering the industry. Comments that arose during the survey included:
- “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.
Download the latest Market Conditions Survey here