Construction companies urged to invest in Graduates now

A skills shortage within the construction and engineering sectors is driving up pay as organisations compete to attract in-demand skilled employees

Peace Recruitment, an Edinburgh based recruitment consultancy focused on the construction, property and engineering sectors, is warning employers that skilled construction and engineering workers are now the most sought after in the UK. This is a result of a skills shortage in these sectors meaning demand for both permanent and temporary workers is at a record high.

Peace believes the skills shortage is a direct result of companies failing to invest in graduates during the recession and is urging them to rethink their recruitment process now so this problem does not persist in the future.

The latest statistics published by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that in July 2015 over two fifths of recruiters reported a fall in the number of people looking for work, the steepest decline seen in eight months. The construction industry in particular is struggling to keep pace with demand, with businesses heavily recruiting both permanent and temporary workers. This is driving significant pay growth in the sector of almost 5 per cent.

Engineering employees were the most sought-after type of permanent staff in July, closely followed by Construction workers. Construction led the way in the temporary market, followed by nursing/Medical/Care in second and engineering third.

Chris Peace, Managing Director of Peace Recruitment, explains:

“The construction sector is booming right now, but organisations are struggling to recruit skilled workers as demand goes through the roof. We are finding that clients seem to all be looking for staff at a similar level, which is usually in the 30k-40k salary band. Generally speaking someone at this salary level now might have been graduating around 2008/2009. Graduate recruitment was basically non-existent during this time, hence the supply and demand issue now. We are advising clients to consider investing in graduates now, up-skill existing staff members or bring in more experienced industry professionals.”

“Pay increases, of course, is good news for potential future employees, but it also creates difficulties for organisations trying to keep existing employees happy. The problem seems to be that current employees of many organisations have often not been rewarded financially for their loyalty to the company through the difficult times. So when they find out new employees are being brought in on higher wages naturally it creates unhappiness and dissatisfaction. This, in turn, then creates another issue, where candidates are looking for other job offers just to ‘strong arm’ their current employer into offering them a pay rise or ‘a counter offer’ to get them to stay. Our current estimate is this is happening 15 per cent of the time, costing recruiters and employers a lot of time and money.”

Since its creation in 2009, Peace has transformed itself from a ‘one-man-band’ into a multi-million-pound company. It now has a team of 14 specialist consultants each with an in-depth knowledge of their target markets. Peace prides itself on being different from its competitors, and prioritises service before sales. Its success has been built on providing specialist expert advice, combined with exceptional customer service.