A shortage of semiconductor chips is the next major headache facing struggling entrepreneurs and consultants, a market forecast from Arcadis has warned.
Demand for chips was first driven by the covid-19 pandemic as consumers and businesses began purchasing new laptops and servers to meet the needs of remote working staff and homeschooled children.
Global chip sales fell in 2018 and 2019, but rose 6.5% the following year and even more in 2021.
And the situation was exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the latter being the world’s largest supplier of neon gas, a key part of the chip manufacturing process.
Odessa, the port city in southern Ukraine and believed to be the next target of Russian bombardment, is home to a company called Cryoin, which makes the gas used to power lasers that etch patterns into computer chips.
Arcadis said manufacturers have seen their supply of chips drop from a standard 40-day stock before the pandemic to just five, increasing the likelihood of production delays for manufacturers, many of whom are part of the supply chain of building.
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Agnieszka Krzyzaniak, head of global research for the company, said: “Make no mistake, the current semiconductor shortage is already showing signs of impact on the construction industry.
“Chips are present in virtually every electronic component we use and are an integral part of building control and security systems. Supply chains are unlikely to stabilize in the immediate future, and now is the time for customers to encourage close and early engagement of their contractors with manufacturing and supply chains. distribution. Secure your place in the queue as quickly as possible.
The warnings came after Arcadis said the industry was facing a new normal of an increasingly tight labor market.
Raising its inflation forecast for 2022, the firm said inflationary pressures on buildings would peak at 5% in London and the same amount for the regions, with increases of 6% in infrastructure.
He said rising material prices had plateaued, but added that labor costs would continue to head north.
The report warns: “An emerging issue that will be increasingly difficult to manage is the labor market following the loss of more than 200,000 workers in two years, including a significant proportion of migrant workers. A tighter supply of skills at all levels of industry means inflationary pressures in the short to medium term will continue to grow.
But he said productivity was up 12% in real terms from pre-covid levels.