Work­ing hard to build the fu­ture

Build­ing trade faces chal­lenges from all sides ... but at its heart is re­cruit­ment of young peo­ple, says Agnes Stevenson

The Herald - Scotland's Homes - - News -

SCOT­LAND’S con­struc­tion sec­tor has re­cov­ered from the Brexit vote –when for a few months, em­ploy­ers put ap­point­ments on hold – but ac­cord­ing to con­struc­tion spe­cial­ists, Peace Re­cruit­ment, a lack of suit­able per­son­nel now is the main hold-up of progress.

Chris Peace, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Peace Re­cruit­ment, spon­sors of Best Fam­ily Home in The Herald Prop­erty Awards for Scot­land is as­so­ci­a­tion with Bur­ness Paull, says: “Af­ter Brexit we no­ticed an ini­tial mar­ket slump, but con­fi­dence is def­i­nitely re­turn­ing. How­ever a big­ger prob­lem within the in­dus­try just now is still the skills short­ages.

“Com­pe­ti­tion is high within the con­struc­tion sec­tor, forc­ing com­pa­nies to put in highly com­pet­i­tive ten­der prices to win the larger frame­work con­tracts. The re­sult­ing smaller profit mar­gins is lead­ing to firms not in­vest­ing prop­erly in re­cruit­ment or in­ter­nal de­vel­op­ment of staff.”

Chris be­lieves that the so­lu­tion lies in a more flex­i­ble at­ti­tude to re­cruit­ment.

“Com­pa­nies need to tar­get the younger gen­er­a­tion and to close the gen­der gap and I would also sug­gest that they plan their re­cruit­ment strat­egy in ad­vance for the next 12 months on a rolling ba­sis.”

A re­cent re­port from public­sec­tor-owned built en­vi­ron­ment firm Scape Group found that nearly 85 per cent of pub­lic sec­tor con­struc­tion man­agers and 58 per cent of pri­vate sec­tor con­trac­tors and sup­pli­ers cite the cur­rent skills short­age as neg­a­tively im­pact­ing the qual­ity of their work­man­ship, as well as one in 10 cit­ing it as crit­i­cally im­pact­ing their abil­ity to keep to bud­get.

The re­port states that of the pub­lic sec­tor man­agers who re­sponded, 35 per cent rated the skills short­age in their lo­cal area as bad or se­vere.

This short­age is al­ready im­pact­ing on de­liv­ery qual­ity, with 85 per cent of pub­lic sec­tor re­spon­dents say­ing there had been some neg­a­tive im­pact on the qual­ity of work­man­ship they re­ceived.

Through­out the sur­vey, the skills short­age res­onated as one of the most se­ri­ous bar­ri­ers to growth and ef­fi­ciency within the con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

It says that while there has been a drive to in­crease the num­ber of ap­pren­tice­ships, more needs to be done and there is a need to ad­dress the gen­der gap within the in­dus­try which is acutely pro­nounced.

NEW GEN­ER­A­TION: Chris Pearce be­lieves a more flex­i­ble at­ti­tude to young em­ploy­ees is needed.

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