Monday, 20 June 2016

Let's hear it for the girls in the builders merchant sector! (includes video)

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has signed up to the Young Women's Trust employer pledge and aims to double the number of women and girls entering the merchant industry by 2020.

This is great news and only goes to confirm the increasing amount of women we are placing in sales and marketing jobs in the building and construction industry in recent times.

It is a shame that presently only 11% of merchanting apprentices are female, but the BMF announcement - following figures released by CITB which show that 232,000 jobs will be created in construction industry over the next 5 years and the findings of the charity the Young Women's Trust which has found that over 1 million women aged between 16 and 30 are in poorly paid roles and looking for work - is perfect timing and very encouraging.

BMF managing director John Newcomb, said: "Merchanting is a fantastic career with great progression and I want to open up the sector to more women across the country. This is a huge opportunity for our members who need a full mix of skills and experience in their branches and I am certain that we will meet, if not exceed, our ambitious target." 

A recent survey by the Young Women's Trust found that occupational segregation by gender is significant and is going backwards. For example, women comprise 94% of childcare apprenticeships but just under 4% of all engineering apprenticeships. These sectors are generally lower paid with women on apprenticeships earning on average 21% less than men on comparable apprenticeships. 

The BMF is already targeting women through its youth recruitment campaign, a central point of which is the website which features several young women who are already making their mark in the industry. 

The BMF has now signed up to the following pledge: "The BMF recognises the value of gender diversity and will take action to increase the representation of young women in our apprenticeship programmes." 

If you would like a career in sales and marketing in the building industry, contact us today on 01480 405225 or

Images: BMF

Sunday, 19 June 2016

232,000 jobs to be created in the construction industry by 2020

Earlier in the year the CITB called for more apprentices when they released figures that forecast annual average growth of 2.5% for the next five years – and a massive 232,000 jobs to be created, additionally the CITB’s Construction Skills Network (CSN) report – the industry’s most comprehensive and up-to-date – predicts sustained growth from 2016-2020, driven by infrastructure and private housing.

This does not only mean that more builders and construction experts and consultants are needed, but it is also great news for manufacturers, distributors and merchants, and all job functions involved in manufacturing, transporting, distributing, selling, promoting, specifying, and installing the products, including the equipment used to do it!

Steve Radley, Director of Policy & Partnerships at the CITB, said, "All types of training, and especially apprenticeships, will be vital to delivering this pipeline of work. This positive forecast should inspire more people to start apprenticeships, and more firms to take them on."

New nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point, Somerset, and Wylfa, Anglesey, alongside rail projects such as Crossrail and HS2, will drive year-on-year infrastructure growth of 6.1%.

The commercial construction sector will experience growth of 3.4% per annum, while private housebuilding will also experience sustained growth across the forecast period. Output in the housebuilding is expected return to pre-recession levels by the end of the forecast period, reaching £26bn by 2020. 

UK construction growth is set to be fourth in Europe up to 2017, with British builders outstripping those in Germany, France and Spain.*

Annual growth is predicted in all the UK’s regions and nations up to 2020, with Wales faring best with year-on-year growth of 7.1%, followed by the South West (4.4%), London (3.5%), and the North West (2.6%).

In response to the ongoing skills challenge, the CITB is in 2016 launching a series of new partnerships with local and regional training providers to make sure the right training takes place where it is needed most.

It is also continuing to work closely with the construction industry to further develop Go Construct, an industry-led web portal, to showcase the opportunities in the industry and encourage more people to join the sector. This should help construction firms recruit the talent they need to grow, and help workers learn about all of the great career opportunities available.

Steve Radley, Director of Policy at the Construction Industry Training Board, said:

"We can’t build the Britain we want without growing apprenticeships – and the careers they lead onto. That’s why it is vital that these new statistics, showing solid, sustained growth, inspire more people join the construction industry.

"We also want to attract workers who have left the industry to return, and upskill those currently in the sector, so we can deliver major projects and new housing faster and better."

Employment Minister Priti Patel said:

"With record employment and rising numbers of people working in construction, this is a fantastic time to take up apprenticeships and gain practical experience.

"We’ve got Britain building again with a 25% increase in the number of new homes delivered over the past year alone and construction workers are benefiting from growing wages too – giving families the security of a regular pay check."

If you'd like a sales or marketing job in the construction industry, we can help. Find out more here>>

*Source: Euroconstruct Summer Conference, June 12 2015.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

BKU Awards will celebrate all that is great about the KBB industry

One of the most welcome new events to the industry in recent times is the BKU Awards, launched last year by Kitchen Update Magazine. The awards are designed to recognise the retailers, brands, people and services that make the KBB industry such a vibrant and great one to be part of.

The 2016 Awards is almost upon us and will take place at Shakespeare’s iconic Globe Theatre in London Thursday 23 June, hosted by Paul Sinha, star of ITV’s day time quiz show, The Chase.

Situated directly beneath Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, the Underglobe is one of the most unique and flexible events spaces in London.

By day it serves as the Globe’s Shakespeare exhibition; by night it is transformed into a 
dedicated events venue, perfect for awards ceremonies and gala dinners – and on Thursday 23 June 2016, it will play host to the BKU Awards!

You can book to attend here.

After four weeks of voting and a record breaking number of over 10,000 votes, we are happy to announce the shortlisted companies in each category.

The winners with the most votes overall will be announced at the awards evening.

Make sure you're there to see who wins!

If you are looking for a new sales and marketing job in the KBB industry, you can find out more here.


Best Shower Brand

  • Acquabella
  • Artésan by Claygate
  • Frontline
  • Hansgrohe
  • JT
  • Vado

Best Sanitaryware Brand

  • Aquaceramica Italia by Frontline
  • Duravit
  • RAK Ceramics
  • Roca
  • VitrA

Best Taps Brand

  • Crosswater
  • Grohe
  • Hansgrohe
  • Methven
  • Vado

Best Furniture Brand

  • Aquatrend by Frontline
  • HiB
  • Roca
  • Roper Rhodes
  • Utopia
  • Villeroy & Boch

Best Accessories Brand

  • Croydex
  • HiB
  • Keuco
  • RAK Ceramics
  • Vado

Independent Bathroom Retailer of the Year

  • Abbey Kitchens & Bathrooms
  • Bathroom Trading Company
  • Not Just Kitchen Ideas
  • Stone & Chrome
  • UK Bathroom Warehouse
  • Independent Kitchen Retailer of the Year
  • Abbey Kitchens & Bathrooms
  • Diane Berry Kitchens
  • KTF Home Improvements Ltd
  • Not Just Kitchen Ideas
  • Rencraft

Multiple Retailer of the Year

  • B&Q
  • CP Hart
  • HPS
  • Premier Kitchens & Bedrooms 
  • Ripples

New Kitchen Retailer of the Year

  • Lewis James
  • Moiety Kitchens
  • Portfolio Kitchens (Manchester)
  • Richard & Richard’s Design & Installation Specialists
  • Snug Kitchens (Newbury)

New Bathroom Retailer of the Year

  • Baden Bathrooms
  • Beyond Bathrooms
  • Green Stone
  • Pure Bathrooms North West
  • The Bathroom Cellar

Kitchen Showroom of the Year

  • Alex Lee Kitchens
  • Diane Berry Kitchens
  • Portfolio Kitchens (Manchester)
  • Rencraft (Tunbridge Wells)
  • The Design Yard (Dublin)

Bathroom Showroom of the Year

  • Bathroom Trading Company (Maidstone)
  • Hobsons Choice Swindon
  • Modern Homes (Leamington Spa)
  • Spencers Designs Ltd
  • Stone & Chrome


Best Appliances Brand

  • AEG
  • Bosch
  • Miele
  • NEFF
  • Smeg

Best Worksurfaces Brand

  • Bushboard
  • Egger
  • Granite Transformations
  • Karonia
  • Silestone by Cosentino

Best Taps Brand

  • Blanco
  • Franke
  • Grohe
  • Hansgrohe
  • Quooker

Best Components Brand

  • BA Components
  • Blum
  • Hafele
  • TKC
  • Uform

Best Sinks Brand

  • Astracast
  • Blanco
  • Franke
  • Perrin & Rowe
  • RAK Ceramics

Best Overall Kitchen Brand

  • BA Components
  • Masterclass Kitchens
  • Rotpunkt
  • TKC
  • Uform


Best Distributor
  • Claygate
  • Frontline Bathrooms
  • Q4 Bathrooms
  • Smiths Briten
  • TKC
Best Software Brand
  • 2020
  • Articad 
  • Compusoft
  • EQ Software
  • Virtual World by Logicom
Best Heating Brand
  • Bisque
  • JIS
  • Tissino
  • Vogue UK
  • Warmup
  • Best Flooring Brand
  • Amtico
  • Karndean Designflooring
  • Porcelenosa 
  • Quick Step
  • RAK Ceramics
Best Overall Brand
  • BA Components
  • Claygate
  • Frontline
  • TKC
  • Uform

Best Sales Representative
  • Brian Dunne (Uform)
  • Helen Casewell (AEG)
  • Joby Hardman (Hansgrohe)
  • Mark Mcnulty (Uform)
  • Neil Swallow (Frontline)
  • Best Customer Service
  • Keeva Mcerlain (Uform)
  • Kelly Mckenna (Uform)
  • Kerry Fuller (Claygate)
  • Kristina Manktelow (Claygate)
  • Rich Keohane (Vado)
Lifetime Achievement
  • To be announced on the night

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Figures show UK April construction output bounces back after weak first quarter

In April 2016, output in the construction industry was estimated to have increased by 2.5% compared with March 2016 according to figures from the ONS. The output bounce back more than it was expected  to be in April following surprisingly upbeat industrial data earlier this week, suggesting the economy might have started the second quarter on more steady ground.

The Office for National Statistics said the rise in construction output, which makes up 6 percent of the economy, was the biggest monthly increase since January 2014 and surpassed economists' expectations for a 1.7 percent increase.

  • All new work increased by 2.9% and all repair and maintenance increased by 1.9%.
  • Compared with April 2015, output in the construction industry decreased by 3.7%.
  • The underlying pattern as suggested by the 3 month on 3 month movement in output in the construction industry decreased by 2.1%.
  • New orders for the construction industry in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 were estimated to have decreased by 1.2% compared with Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015 and decreased by 1.2% compared with Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015.

The second estimate of UK gross domestic product (GDP) for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 published on 26 May 2016 included an estimate of construction which showed a decrease in output of 1.1% in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016. This estimate has been not been revised in this release.

Output is defined as the amount charged by construction companies to customers for the value of work (produced during the reporting period) excluding VAT and payments to sub-contractors.

Construction output estimates are a short-term indicator of construction output by private sector and public corporations within Great Britain. Output estimates are produced and published at current prices (including inflationary price effects) and at chained volume estimates (with inflationary effects removed) both seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted.

Output in the Construction Industry

More details:

  • All work increased by 2.5% compared with March 2016; this was the largest month-on-month increase since January 2014 when it increased by 3.8%
  • All work decreased by 3.7% compared with April 2015
  • In the 3 months (February 2016, March 2016, April 2016) compared with the previous 3 months (November 2015, December 2015, January 2016) all work decreased by 2.1%
  • All new work increased by 2.9% compared with March 2016
  • Repair and maintenance increased by 1.9% compared with March 2016

Monday, 13 June 2016

Survey reveals how the EU Referendum is impacting the Construction Industry

A special question was asked on the EU Referendum as part of the latest Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI survey and unsurprisingly it revealed uncertainty of the outcome of the forthcoming EU referendum is having a detrimental impact on the current business performance of around one-third of UK construction companies. 

When asked whether the issue of the UK’s potential exit from the European Union is currently having an impact on their business, some 30% of surveyed companies that answered the question commented on a ‘detrimental’ effect, while a further 5% indicated that the impact was ‘strongly detrimental’. Conversely, just 1% reported a ‘strongly beneficial’ effect.

Over half (55%) noted no significant impact, while one-in-eleven respondents were unsure whether ‘Brexit’ worries were a factor impacting on their business (9%).

Looking at the nature of the impact on construction firms, nearly one-third of respondents commented that Brexit ‘uncertainty’ was making it difficult to make business decisions (32%), with a similar proportion noting an adverse impact on their sales (around 34% of construction firms indicated a detrimental impact in this area).

Only a small minority (16%) of construction companies reported that costs were also being adversely affected by the EU referendum uncertainty, while around one-in-four (26%) commented on a detrimental impact on profits. Investment and planning decisions were similarly also hampered (26% of construction firms).

At the same time, the vast majority of the survey panel (73%) reported no significant effect emanating from uncertainty over ‘Brexit’ on their ability to hire suitable staff.
Data were collected between May 12th-27th.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

UK construction sector remains upbeat despite slowdown in May amid first drop in new orders since April 2013

UK construction firms experienced another difficult month overall in May, with output growth easing to its weakest for almost three years and incoming new work declining for the first time since April 2013.

Survey respondents noted a general slowdown in market conditions and delays to client decision making ahead of the EU referendum.

Key points:

  • Marginal overall rise in business activity
  • Incoming new work declines for the first time in over three years
  • Input buying stagnates in May, but job hiring hits four-month high

However, there were signs that construction companies remain relatively upbeat about the growth outlook, with more than half of the survey panel (51%) expecting a rise in output over the next 12 months and only one-in-seven (14%) anticipating a fall. As a result, job creation picked up in May and reached a four-month high.

The seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) posted 51.2 in May, down from 52.0 in April and only slightly above the critical 50.0 no-change mark. The latest reading signalled the weakest overall rise in business activity for almost three years. All three broad areas of construction activity were stuck in a low gear during May. Residential building work increased at one of the weakest rates seen since early-2013, while growth of commercial activity was the slowest for nearly three years. Civil engineering stagnated in May, which made it the worst performing sub-category of activity for the second month running.

May data signalled an outright reduction in new order volumes for the first time since April 2013. Anecdotal evidence pointed to a general lack of client confidence, driven by heightened uncertainty about the economic outlook. Moreover, a number of firms noted reluctance among clients to place orders and commence contracts until after the EU referendum.

According to a special question added to the survey this month, around one-third of respondents have seen a detrimental impact on their business from uncertainty regarding the forthcoming vote. Further details are provided in the research note following this press release.

A reduced flow of incoming new work contributed to cautious stock policies and input buying at construction firms in May. Reflecting this, the latest survey pointed to stagnation in purchasing activity across the construction sector. However, staff hiring was maintained in May, which marked three years of continuous job creation. The latest increase in payroll numbers was the fastest since January, which construction companies linked to new project starts and high levels of orders-in-hand.

Meanwhile, construction firms noted a moderate deterioration in supplier performance, continuing the downward trend seen since September 2010. A robust pace of input price inflation was also recorded in May, although the latest rise in average cost burdens was slower than April’s nine-month high.

Looking ahead, UK construction firms are upbeat overall about the year-ahead outlook, with just over half of the survey panel forecasting a rise in output. The degree of optimism was up fractionally since April, but still at one of the lowest levels seen over the past three years. Survey respondents linked this to heightened economic uncertainty and concern that softer market conditions will persist into the second half of 2016 (especially in the housing sector).

Tim Moore, Senior Economist at Markit and author of the Markit/CIPS Construction PMI®, said:

“Construction companies are facing a challenging second quarter of 2016, with growth headwinds apparent across all three key areas of activity. May data signalled the worst month for commercial building since June 2013, while residential work and civil engineering activity both saw a renewed loss of momentum.

“Survey respondents noted that the forthcoming EU referendum has disrupted new order flows and the timing of client decision making in particular. Heightened uncertainty and subdued general economic conditions in turn contributed to the first outright fall in new work received by construction firms for just over three years.

“The main positive aspect was a pick-up in staff hiring to its fastest since the beginning of the year. Positive employment trends not only contrasted with falling new order volumes in May, but the gap between these indices was the largest since the survey began in 1997.

“An optimistic interpretation is that construction firms are looking through the second quarter weakness and feel that workloads will recover momentum.However, should this fail to materialise later in 2016, then job creation is likely to come under pressure given its elevated trend relative to current demand patterns.”
Commenting on the report, David Noble, Group Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said:

“The sector appeared to have taken residence in awaiting room of non-activity, as continuing poor global economic conditions and uncertainty around the EU referendum impacted growth and new orders.

“Supplier performance degraded and continued its downwards trend which began in September 2010. Purchasing activity ground to a virtual standstill.

“The chink of light appeared to be the industry’s optimism for the future and an indication that that this may be a short-term situation as employment continued to rise to a four-month high and job creation has been continuous for three years. Once again the industry holds its breath to see what the coming months will bring as housing sector growth in particular remains weak.”

Friday, 3 June 2016 adverts go down the pan!

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a ruling to ban a television and website advertisement by that stated the online retailer's prices were “40% lower than Bathstore”. 

According to ASA, Bathstore challenged whether the claims by in its advertisements from September last year – were “misleading and could be substantiated”. In response to the challenge, “said they had engaged an independent third-party company to match products on Victoria Plum’s and Bathstore’s websites and which was completed autonomously, without influence by Victoria Plum”.

The company also stated it checked Bathstore's prices “twice daily” to ensure a minimum of 10% of all matched products exceeded the 40% discount. According to the company, 176 of its products were matched with products from Bathstore, with 67-83 products cheaper by at least 40%.

“The number of products that were up to 40% cheaper fluctuated during the time the ads appeared due to Bathstore changing their own prices,” the ruling by ASA states. “Therefore, comparable stock was a relatively low proportion of their overall stock, but they [] believed the adverts made that clear.

“Because Victoria Plum’s ads suggested a significant proportion of their products were lower in price than comparable products from Bathstore, which was not the case, we concluded the claims were misleading and had not been substantiated,” the ASA said.

View the latest bathroom products sales jobs>>

The ruling marks the third by ASA regarding since March this year, when the authority banned three adverts by the retailer that had been challenged by consumers and its competitor Victorian Plumbing. In April, the ASA banned another advert after Victorian Plumbing challenged it.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

In which job function are you looking to recruit?

It seems that the real importance to a company's success of happy and good employees is now being more clearly understood. Companies are adopting a more considered and focused approach to their recruitment policy to ensure this happens.

It is important to make the right recruitment decisions: focusing on particular disciplines, as well as the type of people you want to hire as well as how you develop and treat them after they have been hired.

In construction industry sales and marketing roles, there are a number of job functions you can recruit for to help ensure you maximise your business potential quicker and more successfully than your competition.  

Field Sales Options
High-impact positions are often targeted, e.g. field sales roles, as they are vital to ensure that you secure every bit of business out there. But – should you be focusing on standard ‘Account Sales‘ or on ‘Specification Sales’ with its possible more lucrative long-term benefit? 

Getting the balance between the long and short-term view can be an important and difficult call to make. 

Are you finding the changing nature of the market means you can’t ignore securing specifications as part of your sales strategy? This certainly seems to be the case with the amount of specification sales roles we’ve had available recently.

Read our guide on 'What is Specification Sales?'

Internal Sales Options
Some companies are now enhancing their internal sales team to reduce the pressure on external sales and provide a more instant and technical response to customers’ needs. 

This can also be seen as proactive, as it ensures customers are being more regularly contacted as part of a support function - the more focused companies are exploiting this to their advantage.

Of course, it also helps to process orders more efficiently and keep customers advised on order progress, so that you are seen as reliable and an excellent long-term business partner.

Read our feature on the importance of internal sales in the construction industry

Marketing / Product Development Options
These were the areas that seemed to have been hit first in the recession, when really they should’ve been the key areas to support and focus on. Investment in marketing and product development helps ensure your product differentiation is clear which helps your sales team. 

The future of your company is more assured if you have new products and services that meet the changing needs and regulations of the construction market. 

Do you have a long-term road map for new product introduction or enhancement? If not, it is something you should be thinking of developing now.

Along with specification sales, these are areas where we are now seeing a significant increase in construction companies’ recruitment.

More on construction marketing jobs

Developing and rewarding loyal members of staff
During the dark days of the recession, we found many people were given extra duties to maximise their value. Hopefully, many companies will have found some hidden gems within their teams and will now reward them with new or enhanced roles. If you’ve found a good team member, cherish them, invest in them and let them develop even more. Don’t lose them, but recruit more good people who will grow with you and add real value.

Of course, it’s not always that simple and some companies just have to get on with it the best they can. Those who survived and want to thrive are often those who had the best and most adaptable employees in the first place. 

The key thing to remember is: your recruitment policy affects you even when you are not in recruitment mode, but if you are, consider where you need to be making appointments. Don’t think that just because it was right years ago, it will be right now. Times have changed.

If you want to discuss the best way forward to develop your sales and marketing teams, please contact us to discuss your requirements on 01480 405225 or take a look at our website

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Job in Focus for June: National Sales Manager for Luxury Bathroom Products - £75k + bonus

Our latest Job in Focus is a national role selling Luxury Bathroom Products and a opportunity to prove your management skills managing a team of Area Sales Managers covering all channel sectors including Retail, Specification & Contract. As National Sales Manager you would inherit a strong team who are very experienced in their own dedicated channel

Our Construction & Building Industry Job in Focus feature takes a detailed look at some of the fantastic sales & marketing construction and building materials job vacancies currently on our books. Job in Focus is also promoted on our website. 

Job Title: National Sales Manager
Job Ref: J7636
Product: Bathroom Products
Location: National
Salary: £75k

National Sales Manager opportunity, working for a market leading manufacturer of luxury bathroom products. 

PACKAGE: Basic salary £65k to £75k plus Bonus Scheme, Car, Healthcare, Pension & other company benefits plus the opportunity to join a fantastic brand. 

EMPLOYER: Our client are a market leading manufacturer of luxury bathroom products boasting an excellent reputation. They are now looking to grow significantly and offer a superb opportunity for someone to develop their career in a true market leader. 

JOB DESCRIPTION: Superb opportunity to prove your management skills managing a team of Area Sales Managers covering all channel sectors including Retail, Specification & Contract. This person will inherit a strong team who are very experienced in their own dedicated channel - this person will need to be capable of understanding the differences between selling via Retail, Specification & Developer sectors and be comfortable being the visible face and voice to key customers in all of these sectors. They will be expected to set & monitor targets providing strong growth and motivate the team to achieve and surpass these targets. 

LOCATION: National role so someone living centrally would be advantageous including, West Midlands, Birmingham, Manchester, Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire etc 

CANDIDATE: We are looking for a high calibre manager with a clear background in the Bathroom industry - preferably with strong experience in the Retail channel 

For further information or to discuss your career options contact Colin Hoy on 01480 405225 or apply online.

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