There is a move towards new and productive, even more technologically savvy, ways of working, according to the latest investigations by the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), from their sector benchmark research.
Seventy-two percent of firms reported being optimistic for the next six months, with this increasing to 80% for the next 12 months. However, the breadth of specialisation and the number of supply chains in the sector have produced a varied picture in the research.
LEEA does not expect the sector to return to pre-pandemic patterns of work as there are now clearly different expectations around training, travel and work patterns, according to the research.
The majority of firms (more than two thirds) reported their attitude towards e-training had changed in the past 12 months, with it being seen much more as an option. Training via video conferencing has its supporters, with nearly three quarters of firms reporting that they now see it as a more likely option.
However, there is clearly a view that face-to-face training remains the preference, regardless of company size or specialisation.
Most firms are looking at more focused travel, however, with 65% reporting that they expect to make changes to their business travel budget post lockdown.
Few can be surprised to see such a large percentage of respondents recording revenue falls due to the economic impact of the pandemic and associated lockdowns.
Surprisingly, however, the survey reveals a larger percentage recorded an increase in revenue. The picture improves when looking over the duration of the crisis: during the initial pandemic period (April to June 2020), there was an equal split between those reporting revenues up or down compared to the same period in 2019 (45% each).
But, across the longer period of April 2020 to February 2021, the balance shifts to 54% reporting revenues up compared to 39% seeing a drop, which gives reason for optimism looking forward.
Nevertheless, there has been a dramatic impact on the workforce with an incredible 50% of respondents attributing job losses to the pandemic, across a range of roles.
Half the respondents expect the workforce to be smaller in March 2022 than it was in March 2020. While there’s speculation around the reasons behind the ups and downs, further research will be required to fully understand which parts of the sectors did better than others.
Ross Moloney, CEO of LEEA said: “2020 has been a year that none of us expected. Our personal and work lives have all been impacted and as we look forward, we are now trying our best to predict what the future will look like.
"A year on from the initial lockdown in the UK, LEEA has issued this research aimed at helping us to understand the implications of the pandemic on our industry.
"It allows us to see the huge financial effects on our industry and the retrenching we are expecting concerning the size of the workforce, how training is conducted and changes to everyday work.”
The LEEA Sector Benchmark Research survey was disseminated to LEEA members and broadly to the industry using social media between February and March 2021, with 118 firms responding to the research survey.
The size of firms ranged from micro, employing fewer than 10, through to firms employing more than 50.
For more than 75 years now, the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) has been established across the globe as the leading representative body for all those involved in the lifting industry worldwide.
It is the respected and authoritative representative body for its members who work in every aspect of the industry, from design, manufacture, refurbishment and repair, through to the hire, maintenance and use of lifting equipment.
LEEA - leeaint.com