Lack of commitment to infrastructure
With austerity policies in many countries constraining the scope for public sector spending, it is vital to create an environment that encourages private sector investment. It is therefore of some concern that only 47 percent of respondents consider their government’s policies are having a positive impact, a response that is fairly consistent across all regions. Interestingly, executives from the bigger organizations involve in the survey are the least optimistic that public sector policies are helping – perhaps an indication that governments are focusing on smaller-to-medium sized enterprises and assuming larger businesses need less help.
Respondents are also very concerned about governments’ ability to drive infrastructure spend, with an overwhelming 80 percent citing lack of leadership as a major barrier. It is not just the politicians who holding back development, as two thirds feel the private sector is not showing enough initiative either.
Economic conditions front of mind
Continued worries over the state of the global economy are reflected in the survey findings. When commenting about current business conditions in their home regions, a large majority (71 percent) say that economic uncertainty is the biggest concern. Given the ongoing crisis over the Euro, it is no real surprise that firms from EMEA are the most nervous, with one European executive quoted as saying: “Even the traditional optimists are finding it less cheerful.”
The survey respondents from Asia Pacific are relatively less pessimistic about economic prospects and instead point to skills shortages and inflation as a continuing worry, with Hong Kong and China suffering from a lack of basic construction resources and some commodity prices rising at a double digit rate. In the Americas, the growing US government deficit is proving a matter of some concern to construction executives, who fear this may constrain any economic recovery.