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Sweett sees opportunity in skills crisis

1 Jul 14 The growing shortage of skilled professionals in the construction industry represents an opportunity to make more profit, according to cost consultant Sweett.

Sweett CEO Dean Webster
Sweett CEO Dean Webster

Sweett CEO Dean Webster says that it will enable professional services firms to charge their customers more. “The legacy of the recession for our industry is the lack of human resource capacity available to meet rising demand,” he said. “Whilst this will create a challenge for us to attract and retain the best people, it will provide an opportunity for us to improve margins.”

He added: “It is interesting to note that we are now seeing a trend beginning to emerge, particularly in the UK market, where clients are placing increasing emphasis on choosing firms which have the right people and right experience, as opposed to just on price.”

Mr Webster was speaking as Sweet unveiled a 10% increase in revenues for the year to 31 March 2014, up from £80.6m last time to £89.4m. Operating profit was static at £2.3m but pre-tax profit jumped to £2.8m, up from £1.8m the previous year.

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On these results, Mr Webester said: "The group has performed strongly driven by a powerful recovery in the UK market, where we have gained market share.  Our order book is at record levels and we are trading well with prospects for turnover and margin improvement being on track.  As a provider of independent services with a solid global platform we relish the opportunities ahead of us as we see global economies strengthen."

Sweett has 58 offices in 18 countries across five continents offering cost consulting and project management.

Revenue from Europe was up to £49.3m (2013: £42.7m), accounting for 55% of the total revenue. Net operating margin improved in Europe from 7.1% to 10.9%, but this is still below 2008’s peak margin of 11.6%.  The European order book stands at £53m, up 36% on the £39m of a year ago.

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