Builders Merchants: how has the Coronavirus affected you?

For this exclusive report, SRS Recruitment Solutions partnered with the Builders’ Merchants News to conduct an industry-wide survey to uncover the effects of the Coronavirus on Builders Merchants.

It is safe to say that no one could have predicted the catastrophic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world that has forced countries and entire industries into a period of lockdown.

The construction industry was no exception but with the sheer resilience of Industry Bodies and Trade Unions, Government Ministers were persuaded to clarify that construction and its supply chain are an essential and vital industry allowing a small number of businesses to continue to operate provided they could do so safely in order to deliver essential works to clinics, hospitals, transport, factories and other key sectors helping to fight the pandemic.

The Government also announced the implementation of a job retention scheme or ‘Furlough Scheme’ to support businesses that took the decision to send employees home and its main objective was to reduce the risk of widespread unemployment. In May, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, announced an extension to the scheme until October 2020 to provide further support to UK businesses.

The Government’s lockdown measures were implemented in late March and continued through to the summer where restrictions were eased incrementally and cautiously over a number of weeks, allowing some industries to return to work. At the time of writing this feature in mid July, the country is only just beginning to see its first glimpse of a recovery and some form of normality returning to daily life with the exception of some industries still under the enforcement of stringent lockdown measures.

It is too early to see the full scale of the impact that Coronavirus has had on the construction industry and its future but SRS Recruitment Solutions reached out to the Builders’ Merchant sector to uncover the challenges, opportunities and future predictions it is faced with.

This research shows that the merchant sector was affected significantly like most sectors but many businesses adapted to ensure continued trading throughout the pandemic. Some adaptations, such as online trading, have been predicted to remain and become part of the industry’s future.  Overall, the merchant workforce remains resilient and are prepared for a positive but slow recovery…..

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