The construction products sector needs to promote best-value procurement, address its skills shortage and boost new product development.

These are the key recommendations of a new publication from the UK Construction Products Association (CPA).

“Construction Products – Working Smarter to Improve Profitability” which was produced in association with Ernst & Young and says that currently the industry is lagging behind other sectors in terms of growth and profitability. Its price-earnings ratio is currently 10, compared with 18 for the FTSE all share index and 42 for the electronic and electrical equipment markets.

Simon Oldfield, head of building at Ernst & Young said that, while “best value” was the talk of the marketplace, “price is still the primary dictator”.

“Turning to the shortage of skills, this is a sector which has a real image problem. The shortage of skilled labour is expected to hold back average sales growth by as much as 5% this year.” He said that to fill the skills gap, government and industry must work together to boost recruitment, clamp down on the black economy and support migration of skilled workers to the UK.

At the publication launch, CPA chief executive Michael Ankers said “This research establishes key drivers to sustained long term growth for the industry.”