British Archaeological Jobs and Resources
Survey of Archaeological Contractors – 1
The second BAJR jobs survey of 60 smaller companies and “sole traders”,who employ over a thousand people or a third of those employed incommercial archaeology etc, has again shown that there are some groundsfor optimism. Twenty eight per cent of companies polled say they have hadan increase in orders and twenty one percent of companies are recruiting.
This has to be put into the context of the situation in December of last yearand January where there appeared to be an abyss of archaeologicalemployment. Indeed there was the spectre for the first time in 10 years thatthere would not be a single job advertised on BAJR. The first BAJR surveywas undertaken because David and myself felt that the IFA survey told whatwe knew had happened but not what was going to happen. Equally we feltthat our businesses did not reflect the total crisis that people were talkingabout.
Only 1 UK based contractor has made people redundant in the last threemonths but the same contractor is intending making more redundancies inthe next three months. Redundancies are continuing in Ireland.
The consultancies are generally holding their own, have an increase in work(43% of companies), and recruitment is on the agenda for that 43% of companies. This is perhaps indicative of projects beginning to be re-started.The contracting units are starting to see a similar trend perhaps reflectingthe time lag between consultancies being engaged and archaeologicalfieldwork being undertaken.
What is clear is that the situation is far from disastrous.
However; the spring is a time of year for an increase in archaeological workand development commences so it is unclear how far this increase in theamount of work is simply the seasonal norm. There is some evidence for thisin that while jobs for field staff are being advertised these are relativelyuncommon.
It is clear that the current trading conditions are far from easy and smallcompanies etc face continuing difficulties not least bad debt and poor cashflow but what it is also clear is it is far less likely that we are facing totalwipe out of the archaeological industry. We also note that the situation isfar from easy for the many people who have lost their jobs or for newgraduates. We can only hope that things do improve and more normaltrading conditions emerge within six months. It also has to be rememberedthat the market for archaeology has more or less been expandingcontinually for many years and it is unlikely that this will continue in anyevent.