Despite the COVID-19 health crisis impacting significantly on the lifting Industry, Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) Sector Benchmark Research reveals optimism for the post-pandemic future, and a move towards new and possibly more productive ways of working.
The new report finds 72% of firms optimistic for the next six months, with this increasing to 80% for the next 12 months.
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 (over two-thirds) report changes in their attitude towards e-training in the past 12 months, with growing acceptance of the option. Training by Zoom specifically 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.
A large percentage of respondents recorded revenue falls; but surprisingly, 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 revenue rises, compared to 39% seeing a drop, which gives reason for optimism looking forward.
On the downside, there has been a dramatic impact on the workforce with 50% of respondents making job cuts across a range of roles. Half the respondents expect the workforce to be smaller in March 2022 than it was in March 2020.
Ross Moloney, CEO of LEEA, says: "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."
LEEA is a leading representative body for all those involved in the lifting industry worldwide.