Osborne chief executive David Fison has questioned the latest round of industry mergers and believes smaller contractors will benefit.
Fison – who was previously chief executive at Skanska and managing director at Balfour Beatty Civils -spoke out as the Carillion/Balfour saga rumbles on.
And Fison is hoping to attract new staff to Osborne during the fallout if the merger goes ahead.
Fison said: “I am watching the merger moves of the large contractors and consultants with great interest.
“It is what big companies do to gain market share and maximise earnings by cutting costs through combining teams, offices, etc.
“What that means of course is laying people off, often the most experienced and therefore most expensive– usually described in press releases as ‘creating synergies’.
“But this is happening at a time when the construction industry is becoming increasingly aware that it faces major issues over resources, by which I mean people as well as materials and plant.”
Fison highlighted reports that show 300,000 people left construction during the recession and another 300,000 are due to retire shortly.
He said: “Replacing them will not be easy or quick.
“As investment in infrastructure and construction generally ramps us having enough good quality, trained people is going to be the deciding factor in what work firms have the capacity to bid for and deliver.
“The anticipated synergies in those big mergers may not evolve as companies find they need to hang on to resources.
“But if they do, big company efficiency savings look like being to the benefit of smaller companies.
“Most small businesses have a longer horizon, less ambitious profit ambitions and can offer secure job opportunities for construction staff.
“The jobs may not be so big but we are closer to our customers, more agile, and value what individuals have to offer.
“For staff, and in fact for clients, it’s a bit like choosing a restaurant.
“You can go to a top class hotel with formal service or the local restaurant round the corner.
“Both give you good food to suit your budget but with a different style. It’s just about making the choice. Smaller businesses have a lot to offer, I believe.
“We are looking forward to welcoming new recruits going forward.”
Source: Construction Enquirer