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Latest news on the state of the market for archaeological services

The latest job loss figures for the sector have been published. The number of people employed in commercial, applied archaeology has increased slightly (by 0.4%) over the six months to October 2011.

Levels of staff turnover are relatively low, and employers believe that the majority of people who have lost jobs in archaeology in the last six months have remained within the sector.

Salaries have not risen in line with inflation in the six months to October 2011, and therefore have typically fallen in real terms.

Significant numbers of archaeological businesses have subsidiary offices located elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Financially, companies are turning over slightly more revenue in 2010-11 than in 2009-10. Profitability is low. Where available, information suggests that the majority of revenue is derived from carrying out field investigation and post-fieldwork analysis.

Business confidence, as measured through reported future expectations, remains low. A minority of organisations expect to substantially expand their business in the next twelve months.

Skills losses are commonly reported in the areas of fieldwork and post-fieldwork analysis, but these are both areas where skills shortages are being addressed through organisations bringing in outside expertise and through investment in staff training. One area where there is a skills issue that is only being addressed through buying-in expertise is in conservation, where organisations are investing relatively little in training. Overall, respondents considered that post-fieldwork analysis and conservation were the two areas with the most significant sector-wide skills shortages.

A minority of respondents had previously supported an employee getting an NVQ, although the majority say that they would consider supporting someone in the future.

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