Kennards survey highlights contractor confidence in Australia

By Murray Pollok01 August 2023

Australian rental firm Kennards Hire has undertaken its second annual Construction Confidence Check – a survey of more than 500 contractors – and found confidence among large contractors has declined year-on-year, in contrast to that of smaller contractors.

Details of Kennards Hire annual confidence survey. (Source Kennards Hire) Infographic showing the results of Kennards Hire’s 2023 ‘Construction Confidence Check’. (Source: Kennards Hire)

While overall confidence in Australia’s construction industry has improved year-on-year, the survey results show a shift in sentiment related to business size and location:

  • In smaller businesses (20-99 employees), confidence levels were high for 86% of respondents 2023 compared to 74% in 2022.
  • In larger businesses (+100 employees), confidence declined from a very high 92% in 2022 to 80% this year.
  • In New South Wales and Victoria, confidence slightly declined (83% in 2023 against 86% in 2022), however the rest of Australia showed confidence increased (84% in 2023 compared to 72% in 2022).

The survey found that the majority (83%) of construction business leaders view the industry as ‘stable’ and able to withstand pressures to continue growing. At the executive level, 87% agreed that the industry is stable.

In terms of challenges facing contractors, the rising cost of materials was the highest ranked problem, followed by skilled labour shortages, the rising cost of equipment and supply chain issues.

ESG findings
Kennards also asked contractors about challenges relating to ESG (environmental, social and governmental) policies. A third admitted they lacked knowledge and understanding of ESG, while 59% said they took ESG responsibilities seriously.

Of those with an ESG strategy in place or planning to implement one, almost half said the use of eco-friendly and sustainable materials was a step they are taking to improve ESG outcomes, closely followed by proper waste management and material recycling.

Tony Symons, general manger commercial at Kennards Hire, said; “Australia’s construction industry is resilient and adaptable, so it’s no surprise that most business leaders are hopeful about the future.”

In relation to ESG, Symons said rental helped customers to create circular economy benefits; “At Kennards Hire, we support construction business leaders find cost-savings whilst simultaneously improving ESG outcomes.

“By choosing to hire equipment instead of purchasing, businesses can reduce upfront costs, participate in the sharing economy, and have access to the latest technology without the burden of ownership”.

Symons added that the survey helped Kennards to ”stay attuned to the industry’s outlook, ensuring we remain well-informed and can continue to use our expertise to help businesses navigate mounting pressures”.

Kennards celebrates 75th anniversary April marks 75 years since the company was founded by Walter Kennard
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