Members of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) are optimistic about the post-pandemic future, according to the organisation’s Sector Benchmark Research.

Of the 118 firms responding to the survey, 72 percent of companies said they were optimistic for the six months, with this increasing to 80 percent when asked about the next 12 months.

The economic impact of the pandemic and associated lockdowns did have a negative impact on the revenues for a percentage of the respondents. Nevertheless, the majority reported an increase in revenue.

During the initial pandemic period (April to June 2020), there was an equal split between those reporting revenues up or down compared to the same period in 2019 (45 percent each). But, across the longer period of April 2020 to February 2021, the balance shifts to 54 percent reporting revenues up compared to 39 percent seeing a drop.

There has been a dramatic impact on the workforce. 50 percent of respondents said that they experienced job losses attributable to the pandemic. Half the respondents expect the workforce to be smaller in March 2022 than it was in March 2020.

LEEA does not expect the sector to return to pre-pandemic patterns of work, as there are now clearly different expectations around training, travel and work patterns, according to the research. The majority of firms (over two thirds) reported their attitude towards e-training had changed in the past 12 months – for example training by Zoom has a number of supporters, with nearly three quarters of firms reporting that they now see it as a more likely option, said LEEA.

However, there is clearly a view that face-to-face training remains the preference, regardless of company size or specialism.

Most firms are looking at more focussed travel, however, with 65 percent reporting that they expect to make changes to their business travel budget post lockdown.