Good news and bad news: T&T’s 2018 survey shows abundance of work, dearth of workers

UK consultant Turner & Townsend (T&T) has released its International Construction Market Survey 2018, which concludes that "global construction volume is on the up and the future is looking bright" – if the industry can find enough workers to fill its ranks.

The combination of increasing demand and tightening labour market is also pushing up inflation by a global average of 4.3% over the course of 2018.

Image courtesy of Tuner & Townsend

The report covers 46 regions in 33 countries. Of these, 21 are expected to warm up, 23 are stable, and two – Perth in Australia and Muscat in Oman – are likely to cool.

The five most expensive places to build are:

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Zurich
  5. London

This finding is broadly in line with the survey carried out by Dutch consulting engineer Arcadis this month.

Image courtesy of Tuner & Townsend

The T&T report highlights the global shortage of construction workers, with only three markets experiencing a surplus of labour: Houston, Muscat and São Paulo. It adds that the disparity in labour costs between regions is extremely varied: the average hourly wage in Bangalore is $1.1, compared with $104 in Zurich and $98 in New York.

The report includes a global economic overview. This concludes that:

  • The US is growing rapidly: business profits are surging, house prices have fallen to 2008 levels and unemployment has dipped to 4.1% from 10% in 2009
  • China continues to act as the global growth engine, driving a resurgence in commodity prices and benefitting resource-rich economies, such as Australia, Brazil and South Africa.
  • The EU economy grew at 2.6% at the end of 2017. France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands all experienced stronger growth in the second half of 201 and Spain’s economy continues to grow above 3%.
  • Brexit has had a dampening effect on businesses and consumers, not helped by a fall in the pound leading to higher inflation and a loss in real earnings.

Image courtesy of Tuner & Townsend

Steve McGuckin, Turner & Townsend’s global managing director, commented: "It may have felt like a long time coming, but global construction got into its stride in 2017 as the economic backdrop brightened and boosted optimism. The growing confidence this brings is a much-needed tonic for the construction industry as it tackles the challenges of a rapidly evolving world."

 Top image: New York skyline (Wikimedia Commons/AngMoKio)

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  1. What about Scotland and the rest of the UK. There is more than just London

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