The construction industry was one of the first to be hit by global recession.
Construction downsizing can have a major and an immediate effect on; employment, government tax collections, and general confidence among the mass population. As private investors pulled back, the public sector put the plug on funding, leaving many employees; blue and white collar, junior and senior, concerned with job loss. Morgan Hunt Director, Dan Taylor, shares his construction market insights.
During a long period of recession a large volume of the workforce left or moved on and those entering the workplace didn’t see construction as a desirable or stable profession. The latest UK Construction PMI shows the construction industry expanding for the eighth consecutive month. With new optimism among clients, construction companies are looking to invest, not just in housing demand but in private sector infrastructure projects and commercial building work.
An increase in construction output is good, but challenges will arise in sustaining this if the skills required are in short demand. Fewer candidates in the market have the effect of pushing up salaries, making projects more expensive and more variable to price. A strong demand for skills can put the supply chain under pressure and put projects in financial jeopardy should they fail to meet deadlines.
Competition for skills will be fought in the battlegrounds of who is the; ‘best company to work for’ and ‘best at paying suppliers promptly’. A failure to understand these finer points may result in no ‘man’ on site. There is also a need to improve the image of the UK construction industry and its attractiveness to potential employees. All this however has a positive effect for the candidate as they will have more choice, and better pay and conditions.
Jobs in demand
Experienced people are in short supply across nearly every trade and skill level. The industry is reporting a strong need for quantity surveyors, chartered surveyors, estimators, architects, qualified contracts managers and construction engineers. Two very severe and long recessionary periods in as many generations has simply not brought sufficient numbers of these through the building construction colleges and universities which is now taking its toll but will get worst as the industry picks up into full swing over the coming year.
There has never been a better time to become involved in the building and trades field. For those who are seeking long term jobs and reasonable security, the construction industry appears to be a safe bet. People who trained to do construction during the economic crash were able to take advantage of the fact that many had left the industry. These professionals were exposed to big projects at an early age. With the new projects coming in they will be able to take advantage of the demand for senior members of staff.
What is the future for construction professionals?
Generally the future looks bright for construction workers. Now is the time for companies to improve their employer branding to compete in what will become a candidate driven market. With promises of new construction projects and therefore long term employment opportunities, the industry will lure back some of those who left, but this may not fill the void completely. Employers will need to be more flexible, offer better incentives, think about what their future workforce will look like and be prepared to nurture their talent pool to resemble that vision.
The largest construction project in the UK being Crossrail, and looking further ahead there are prospective construction projects that include; the High Speed 2 (HS2) line and Crossrail 2, all of which will consume large quantities of professional skills, trades and labour.
Morgan Hunt offer a consultative service to help your organisation with their employer branding and to compete for the best talent . For more information email [email protected]
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