How can I find the right construction recruitment agency in Cardiff and South Wales?

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Finding a construction recruitment agency you can trust is key. But when you start looking for recruitment agencies in South Wales, it can feel overwhelming. With so many agencies popping up left, right, and centre, how do you separate the good from the bad? 

The purpose of a construction recruitment agency is to help source workers who can add value to a project and complete the work required. Construction agencies can be used to increase an internal workforce, bring in workers with specific skills, or to find workers who are local to your project site.

In this article, we’ll break down exactly what you should look for in a construction agency in Cardiff, and perhaps more importantly, what you should avoid.

Construction Agencies in South Wales

Construction is the 5th largest industry in Wales with 8.2% of the Welsh population directly employed within the construction industry 1. In Glamorgan in South Wales, construction is an important source of jobs, with around 5.5% of the workforce employed in the industry 2.

When construction is such a prime sector for South Wales, it’s no surprise that so many construction recruitment agencies exist in the area. Competition is fierce, but it’s important for both workers and contractors to ensure they are connecting with the right construction agency.

Sadly, the sheer volume of construction agencies in Cardiff has resulted in a situation where many recruitment agencies are failing the construction industry.

Why are recruitment agencies failing the construction industry?

The construction industry is saturated with agencies that have little or no experience in the construction field. In order to generate business, certain construction agencies are desperately trying to reduce the amount they pay their workers, in order to charge lower costs to contractors. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a ‘race to the bottom’ between agencies that is not sustainable and is damaging our industry.

By paying workers as little as possible, these agencies are likely to face an incredibly high staff turnover that has debilitating effects on both the workers themselves and the contractors that have hired them. Underpaid workers will only remain on a job until they find something with better pay, and contractors will be forced to constantly replace their workforce. The quality of candidates attracted to these low paid roles is likely to be much poorer than if the roles were advertised for competitive rates.

With 3,502 insolvencies in the construction sector in Great Britain in 2019, the highest of any sector3, it’s clear that running a good construction agency is far from easy. For contractors, one bad experience can force them to reconsider engaging temporary workers. For skilled temporary workers, poor rates of pay and unsuitable jobs could be enough to encourage them into another line of work.

However, when recruitment agencies are manned by skilled tradesmen who have worked in the construction industry themselves, there is a much greater level of understanding between contractors, agencies, and workers. If the recruitment agency understands the market rates of pay, as well as the nuances of the roles they are trying to fill, they are far more likely to find a quality and experienced candidate who will commit to the role, making sure both contractors and workers are happy.

There are so many construction recruitment agencies in South Wales, how do I find the right one for my business?

As a contractor, you need a construction recruitment agency to engage workers who will act as an extension of your own team. In an ideal world, you should look for agencies who have similar values and aims, but more importantly, you need to look for agencies who have a good pool of workers, and a successful track record of completing projects.

A good construction recruitment agency will have a well-established team of qualified workers who have a range of experiences, skills, and knowledge of different sites. Their workers will have proved themselves as capable and committed to new jobs.

Finding the right construction recruitment agencies in Cardiff in particular can be difficult.

Aeroplane Diagnostics Hanger, St Athan Aeronautical Park

You should consider whether the agency specialises in your sector within construction. For example, do they provide M&E workers, trades and labour, or management and technical? Agency websites should make clear which sectors they cover, as well as the geographical location of their workers. 

If you are looking to build a team for a long term project, it’s also important to investigate whether the agency you choose can provide a bespoke workforce, rather than disconnected workers who will be plucked from different areas, or even different agencies. Generally, good recruitment agencies within the construction sector will have a database of workers they can call upon, as well as records for each worker and a summary of their work experience, training, and qualifications.

Essentially, if your business is looking to engage a construction agency, you should look for an agency that can retain good construction staff.

Why is it so important to retain good construction staff?

Network Rail Maintenance Depot, Ebbw Junction

If a construction agency cannot retain good construction staff, the chances are they cannot provide a good service to contractors.

When workers are offered jobs that pay well and recognise their skill set, they are far more likely to stick with that recruitment agency, because they feel valued and appreciated. As a contractor, you will end up with workers who are more likely to get your project finished – and do a good job. Take a look at worker reviews on Google for different recruitment agencies, and see how they compare.

When workers feel undervalued and unheard, they have no loyalty to the construction agency they work for. So as soon as a better paid role comes along they will leave you and your project high and dry. If workers choose to leave a project before it’s finished, as a contractor, you will lose time and money onboarding new staff, as well as run the risk of late fines for delaying the project.

Retaining good construction staff is key to a successful recruitment agency.

How can you tell if recruitment agencies retain good construction staff?

UHW Nightingale Hospital, Cardiff

Knowing that you’re looking for an agency that retains good construction staff is one thing, but when every agency seems to be offering the same services, how do you know which agencies to trust? 

Testimonials on a website or a comparison site, are a great way to decipher whether or not an agency is popular with their workers. Do some research to see what workers are saying. Have they worked on multiple projects, are they positive about their experience? Workers won’t waste time writing a testimonial if they are unhappy about their experience, so even a few genuine quotes can be a good indication that an agency has retained workers.

Take a closer look at how an agency offers to provide workers. A recruitment agency that retains staff will understand their skills and be able to offer a bespoke workforce to suit your needs. They won’t be offering general construction workers when you ask for specific trades. The level of knowledge a construction agency has about their workers should be obvious within the first phone call. Do they have someone in mind, and can they provide references from previous jobs undertaken? A few quick questions can make the world of difference to ensure you engage a construction agency that’s right for your business.

Dig into the details you are given by construction agencies.

When you start talking to construction recruitment agencies, don’t forget to pay attention to the paperwork. Sadly, many contractors still aren’t aware of (or don’t understand) the implications of legislation changes regarding the correct engagement of temporary workers. Getting the legal paperwork right is essential, and a good construction recruitment agency will be able to provide exceptional advice about their sector. It’s their duty to inform you about legislation, and you should never be left in the dark.

Want to find out how we can support your construction business?

At P.I.E.R, we provide a bespoke service to suit your business and project needs. You tell us what you’re looking for as early on in your timelines as possible, and we’ll ensure we find workers to match your requirements. Early engagement is key.

Before you agree to engage any workers, you’ll have a full understanding of their skills and experience. We’ll provide you with references and qualifications for each of our workers, and when they arrive on-site, all Pier workers will be fully insured.

As well as providing skilled workers, we can offer additional training to upskill your internal team. With courses accredited by BESA, we can offer useful training that will plug any skill gaps to guarantee a workforce that is capable of undertaking your project.

We’ll deal with the details, so you can focus on the bigger picture. 

As the contractor, you are accountable for any temporary workers you engage, but we’ll make sure every base is covered. We’ll advise you on legal requirements, pay rates, and training for both your flexible workers and permanent staff. Your workers will be fully compliant, and so will your business.

By keeping a close eye on your project and regularly checking in with your team, we will deliver a full package at every stage of the process. We know that projects can evolve and you may find that your requirements change over time. That’s not a problem. Constant communication will enable us to remain one step ahead of any changes.

P.I.E.R is a construction recruitment agency based in Cardiff, South Wales, focused on helping you to engage and retain skilled workers.

Led by a team with over 27 years of recruitment experience specifically within the M&E sector of construction, we are M&E recruitment experts. By making sure you secure a compliant and committed workforce, we can guarantee your project will be in good hands.

With a reputation for providing exceptional service to clients and excellent opportunities for our workers, you can be confident that we’ll deliver every time. Specialising in M&E workers, but also covering trades and labour, management and technical, and housing, we have experience in every sector of the construction industry.

We are passionate about our sector, and as well as our temporary recruitment solutions, we can also fill permanent roles, and place M&E apprentices. Our M&E apprenticeships scheme enables you to increase your labour force without committing to any long-term training or unnecessary paperwork. At P.I.E.R, we are proud to be part of the construction industry, and keen to encourage the next generation into our line of work.

The ultimate construction solution in South Wales.

If you’re ready to build a highly reliable, flexible construction workforce for your business, schedule a Call with P.I.E.R today.


  1. CE Wales – Construction by Numbers (PDF)
  2. AgencyCentral
  3. ONS Government construction statistics 2019

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