Change will be a key theme in construction over the next 5 years.
Whether it’s going green, digitisation, a greater focus on employee wellbeing, or more offsite roles, change is inevitable – and long overdue. But with change comes challenges, and there’s no doubt that you’ll already be wondering what these changes will mean for your business.
How can we prepare for the future while still managing the present? How can we make sure our workforce is ready for a greener, digitised future? What do we need to do now, to be ready for a new age of construction?
Building a construction workforce that will stay the course is key.
The looming recruitment crisis and your construction workforce
You may already be struggling to recruit and retain workers. Perhaps you’re not quite there but can see it’s getting closer. Skilled workers are ageing, there’s less ‘young blood’ joining the industry, and sadly, more workers are choosing to leave construction for new pastures.
Many workers who have the skills needed for construction are reaching retirement age, and there are few workers climbing the ladder and ready to take their place. Brexit and COVID-19 have both had parts to play in the skills shortage we’re facing at the moment, but the issue is much deeper than the last 3 or 4 years.
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the number of open vacancies in UK construction hit 50,000 in the third quarter of 2022, the highest number in a decade.
Labour shortages in general
It’s not just skilled professionals that we’re lacking. CV Library reported that while the number of construction vacancies increased by over 200% in 2021, the number of applications dropped by over 50%. It’s a fight to fill all construction roles in the UK, onsite, back office, or managerial.
What is causing the skills and labour shortages?
It’s not one factor causing the skills and labour shortage we’re facing in construction. Instead, it’s a combination of aspects both inside and outside our industry.
As an industry, we’ve become stagnant. Less and less young people are viewing construction as an attractive career path, and so we have fewer trainees and apprentices willing to learn from seasoned professionals. Whereas other industries have embraced technology and diversified, construction remains tainted by the view that ‘it’s for men’ and only for skilled tradespeople. Construction isn’t attractive for new workers, and could even be seen as intimidating for anyone who doesn’t fit a certain ‘type’.
Although nothing we could have prepared for, Covid-19 and Brexit haven’t helped our recruitment. A third of professionals (34%) say that hiring today is hard because so many people left construction during the pandemic.
The keys to building a high-quality construction workforce
A high-quality construction workforce might be difficult to achieve, but it’s not impossible. You can implement these changes in your workforce now, and reap the rewards over the next 5 years.
Look outside the box for workers. Rather than recruiting those already within the industry, look to workers with transferable skills, a willingness to learn, and an enthusiasm for completing projects. Many businesses are already embracing diversity, and those who aren’t already, plan to in the future. Three quarters of professionals (75%) say their business is prioritising hiring people from diverse backgrounds, while a quarter of businesses (26%) will put money into diversity and inclusion over the next two years.
In the next 5 – 10 years, a third of professionals think the cost of living will play a large role in encouraging workers to shift to other sectors. In London, this figure is closer to half. Better pay is therefore crucial if we want to retain workers in construction.
If you want to build a quality workforce, you have to show your workers you value them. Yes, there are various perks you can use to incentivise your workers, but paying a good wage is the most important way to demonstrate your commitment to making their working experience positive.
Training your workforce
Providing your current workforce with opportunities to upskill will create loyalty among your workers. Whether you have temporary or permanent workers on a job, the right training will ensure your projects are completed to a high standard, but will also encourage workers to come back to you in the future.
Digitising your processes
Embracing technology and digitising processes is essential for construction. As well as encouraging more new skilled workers into the industry, digitising processes will improve processes, speed up manual work, and make paperwork more accurate.
With digitisation comes less room for human error, more opportunity for reliable predictions, and the ability to create off-site virtual roles that will encourage new talent – and a new generation – into construction.
Improving working conditions
Safety on site will always be a top priority, but working conditions should be looked at for all your workers – regardless of whether they’re on or offsite. If a working environment is not only fit for purpose, but also an environment that workers feel comfortable in, they’re more likely to stay. Improving your onboarding processes, and creating more virtual roles can also help improve overall working conditions.
Staying compliant when recruiting
Compliance in construction recruitment is important on every level. As well as reassuring new recruits that you care about your workers, a strong compliance procedure will demonstrate to experienced construction workers that you know what you’re doing.
Non compliance within our sector can cause financial and legal risks, as well as reputational risks among workers. At P.I.E.R we take compliance seriously, so if you’re concerned about any aspect of your compliance process, get in touch today.
Who can help you make recruitment easier?
With almost 3 decades of experience in construction recruitment, P.I.E.R understands how integral your workers are to your business. Our recruitment process can save you time, money, and headaches, as we match the right worker with the right project – every time.
Why use a construction recruitment company?
Staffing is often one of the most stressful aspects of any construction project. Construction recruitment companies like P.I.E.R will absorb that stress for you, leaving you to deal with the bigger picture, and focus on the future rather than the day-to-day.
Construction recruitment companies have the workers you need to hand, and are perfectly placed to create a bespoke workforce solution that is specific to your project.
How can a recruitment company help your construction workforce stay the course?
While recruitment companies can help you engage temporary workers, they can help you find permanent workers too. High staff-turnover is damaging the construction industry, and good recruitment companies will want the skilled workers on their books to find long-term positions. Even better, when you engage workers through a recruitment agency, the recruitment agency will do the hard work for you.
Most temporary workers are looking for a long term position, and by connecting with a recruitment company, you’re reaching out to a ready made pool of skilled workers. You’ll benefit from an experienced construction recruitment company who will know exactly which worker they have on file to meet your needs. Even better, at P.I.E.R we can help upskill your permanent workers, as well as create a workforce to fit your project.
How to best engage with a construction recruitment company?
If you plan on utilising a recruitment company, there’s no better way to reach out than by giving them a call. Find out who you’ll be dealing with, understand their processes, make sure they’re compliant, and do your due diligence before you commit.
Use the right construction company and it’ll be easy to build a construction workforce that’ll stay the course. Get in touch with P.I.E.R today, and let us help you start your recruitment journey.