Creating scalable businesses in a tough economy has become particularly eminent in 2018. No stranger to uncertainty, the construction sector, for instance, further plummeted in 2017 and these results have rippled through into this year.
Every business reaps the consequences of political actions in some way; coupling this with political uncertainty, slow economic growth and an underperforming Rand has brought some businesses to their knees.
Wayne Bartlett, Contracts Director for Bartlett Construction says that more than 19 000 jobs were lost in the construction sector alone last year. With the company’s long-standing history of more than half a century in South Africa, Wayne says that we are now seeing more diversification and lean business practices than ever before.
“We are seeing established companies reinvigorating their brands and business strategies. This is not a bad thing – it helps to grow the economy in other areas and establishes more resilience and perhaps more effort by businesses today. Complacency is no longer an option and as such as property management, social housing, renewable energy projects and road infrastructure are just some of the ways that traditional construction companies have branched out,”
Discussing the role that labour brokers in the construction industry and outsourced labour the country over plays, Wayne says: “While physical labour is key in every industry, we see companies reducing their risk by outsourcing work. This creates employment opportunities, funds small businesses and nurtures fresh thinking”.
Speaking to the topic of mechanisation in industry, Wayne says that while this is on the rise, bricks and mortar still plays a crucial role in business. “More than ever, consumers want value. We want to touch, see and experience what we pay for”.
Skilled labour shortage in South Africa has always been an issue. “We couple this with the need to compete on price whilst factoring in labour issues, BEE policies, trade unions, various regulatory changes and labour brokers”,
In February of this year, third-party suppliers once again came into the spotlight with labour brokers arguing that removing them from the employment equation would trample the rights and protection of employees.
“Despite conflicting views, labour brokers still have a role to play in uncertain economic times, provided that they are properly regulated. This market is huge for people wishing to enter the workplace and needing a platform to do so” Wayne continues.
Wayne concludes saying: “With the YES initiative soon coming into effect, the construction industry looks to empowering and upskilling the youths both in-line with labour brokers and as individual entities.”