Firms anticipate growth across the glass and glazing industry

  • 1 Feb 2016

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The UK glass and glazing industry is set to experience a period of expansion over the next two years, according to latest research from Pilkington UK.

Pilkington surveyed 318 customers across the supply chain – including fabricators, installers and architects – and found 66% plan to recruit more staff over the next two years.

The average firm is expected to create at least three jobs over this period. If replicated across the entire industry, this could result in thousands of new roles across the sector. 

This predicted uplift in job creation appears to be underpinned by a forecast increase in turnover for many companies within the glass any glazing sector, with the average company forecasting growth of at least 10 percent by 2018.

The survey also suggests that companies are planning to invest in developing new products and improving their infrastructure. 37 percent indicated that they plan to develop their product range, whilst nearly 32% are planning to upgrade their premises or equipment.

Future opportunities 

Many firms are anticipating an increase in the number of new houses being built, something confirmed in last year’s Autumn Statement, in which Chancellor George Osborne announced the biggest house building initiative since the 1970s.

Almost a third of businesses said that an upturn in the construction of new homes would allow them to grow, whilst 24% cited increased investment by property owners on energy-efficiency improvements would increase growth.

Likewise, almost a quarter of participants said that the relaxation of the planning laws – a proposal introduced by the Government during the summer budget – was an important step in helping to pursue a more ambitious expansion strategy.

Pilkington UK commercial director Andy McDowell commented: “There has been no shortage of pessimistic forecasts for the performance of the glazing market in recent years, and while many firms are still operating with caution, this survey shows clear signs of growing confidence in some parts of the industry. 

The commercial sector in particular is a buoyant market, with many of our customers citing healthy order books.”

Challenges ahead

When asked about the biggest obstacle currently facing their business, the increasing cost of materials was most commonly cited with more than 50 percent of respondents highlighting it as the biggest challenge in the two years ahead.

Furthermore, 33 percent of respondents commented that low spend in the domestic market as a result of a tough economic climate would be the biggest challenges, whilst 27 percent named the cost of employment as the greatest hurdle.

Other challenges included the industry’s skills shortage and the lack of spending in the commercial sector. 

Overseas competition was named as a threat by just 5 percent of firms, compared to 22 percent that said domestic competition.

Andy McDowell added: “As a business we’re committed to working in partnership with our customers, helping them to achieve their growth ambitions, and this type of market intelligence ensures we are able to provide a better level of support as we have an in-depth understanding of the industry from their perspective.”


Pilkington United Kingdom Limited,
Greengate Works,
Sherdley Road,
St. Helens,
United Kingdom,
WA9 5 DZ

Phone: 01744 692000
Fax: 01744 692569

Visit Pilkington Building Products' website

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