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construction sector recruitment

Construction Sector Recovery Leads To Recruitment Challenges

construction sector recruitment

There has been a significant recovery in the construction sector since 2012. According to the Irish Construction Industry “the building and construction industry increased its volume of output by 4.1% in the second quarter of 2014 when compared to the previous year”. In residential construction the ESRI predict that between 10,000 and 12,000 new houses will be needed between now and 2015. Further predictions project that this requirement will double to between 20,000 and 25,000 homes to accommodate ongoing demographic change. A further report carried out by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland entitled the “Construction Sector Outlook 2014” has forecasted the creation of about 30,000 new jobs over the next few years.

 

Workers Abroad

Many of our skilled construction workers have left Ireland to seek opportunities abroad. A construction boom and tax free salaries have attracted many Irish construction workers to the Middle East. According to the Irish Times in the United Arab Emirates the Irish population has increased by about 30 per cent to an estimated 6,000 people. In Riyadh the Irish Embassy has reported an increase in the number of families now living in Saudi Arabia to an estimated 3,000 people and a further 1,000 Irish people residing in Qatar. Canada has also been an attractive destination for many of our engineering specialists due to its current scarcity of workers. It is estimated that 3,000 skilled Irish construction workers will be working in Canada as engineering specialists by the end of 2014.

 

In addition to skilled construction workers leaving our shores many Irish construction companies have also set up new ventures overseas. Some of these companies’ strengths include English as the established business language and high innovation and design standards. In 2010 Irish construction firms P Elliot & Company Limited and Wills Bros Ltd set up a new joint venture in Saudi Arabia. In 2011 Sligo based company Jennings O’ Donovan & Partner followed suit and announced that it had secured a contract of 2.8m as the Primary Infrastructure Development for a large development in Bahrain. Irish construction companies such as Kentz, Laing O’Rourke and Kentech have also won significant projects with some offering attractive overseas packages for the construction professionals and their families.

 

Talent Shortages in the Irish Market

As the Irish construction housing market has seen a bounce-back in job opportunities, there are now not enough suitably qualified graduates to fill them. The downturn in the building sector five years ago triggered a dramatic fall in secondary school leavers interest in third level study in courses linked to this area. According to Career and Education News between 2008 and 2013, CAO first preferences for construction related courses plunged from 552 to 195. Engineers Ireland also recently highlighted that there will be a shortage of engineering graduates in the years ahead and that during the 2013/2014 academic year only 62 construction engineers graduated. An additional problem of having a percentage of our skilled construction workers overseas on high tax free salaries poses further problems for engineering companies in relation to the recruitment of staff.

 

Future Outlook

The ongoing recovery of the construction industry along with the issue of many of our skilled engineering professionals overseas poses questions for companies, educators and the government in how we ensure we have sufficient talent available for the opportunities which will emerge.

 

The government recently announced a stimulus package for the construction industry titled “Construction 2020”. One of the points outlined within this package was a tax incentive scheme to increase supply for residential housing developments and to increase job numbers within the construction sector.

 

While it is unwise to look for a situation where any sector is too popular a choice (demand for architecture and civil engineering during the boom was out of sync with future opportunities), there is certainly a case that more interest can be promoted in relevant construction courses. Many of our mechanical and electrical construction companies have reported difficulty in finding strong candidates for junior and intermediate roles – while there has simultaneously not been a large demand from school-leavers for building services courses.

 

Along with this, experienced managers in the construction sector have commented that educators need to provide more “real world” exposure to future engineers towards the end of their third level education – eg. better Excel and planning software skills (MS Project, Primavera etc.) as these will enable them to bring greater value and “hit the ground running” with companies in the marketplace. It looks likely that Irish companies will try hard to attract many of our overseas engineers back home in the near future – they will also be interested to see if an increased number of skilled graduates can emerge through the education system.

 

The answer to tackling the current deficit of qualified construction professionals should come from multiple sources including government incentives, upskilling current workers and promoting careers in construction to those entering third level education. As the Irish construction sector continues to show strong improvement we look forward to continuous growth in the year ahead.

Posted by Recruitment Consultant, Sigmar on 7 December 2017

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The Dos and Don’ts of Hiring Contract Workers

The Dos and Don’ts of Hiring Contract Workers

Taking on temporary staff can increase efficiency and productivity while offering workers flexibility. Here are some tips for finding the right candidates. Published in the Business Post 18th October 2020 The trend towards increased temporary and contract hiring has been magnified with the onset of Covid-19. Traditionally hired for cost-saving measures, temporary and contract staff are now hired more for their skills and expertise, for the efficiency and productivity they can bring and for the flexibility they give organisations. At Sigmar Recrutiment, we surveyed 1,000 companies in Ireland recently and 91 per cent said they were more likely to hire temps or contractors now than they were before Covid-19. This may be reflective of the need for flexibility in an abruptly volatile and uncertain market. The good news for employers, however, is that the pool of talent available for temp and contract work is probably the biggest it has been in a decade.Attitudes to this type of work have also changed post-Covid-19. In addition to our company survey, we surveyed 3,500 candidates and found that 82 per cent would be willing to consider temporary work if they were offered some flexibility, such as remote working. So, what is the best way to find and recruit these candidates? Here are some dos and don’ts to get you started. Dos: 1: Have a strategy for temps While recruiting temp or contract labour is sometimes brought on by unforeseen circumstances, successful hirers of temporary staff generally have a plan. Plans for 2021 are being formulated at most companies right now, so consider your plan for engaging flexible talent as part of your overall strategy. Who will own it, for example, HR, managers or procurement? Will you hire directly or through an agency? What is your projected spend – is it seasonal or year-round? 2: Have an EVP for flexible workers Employer brand and company culture are central to any talent acquisition strategy, but organisations predominantly focus on permanent hires. Multiple studies show the link between employee engagement and business performance. How costly is it to your brand if a temp worker is disengaged, feels undervalued, yet is customer facing for your company? Make sure you consider your employee value proposition (EVP) for temp workers. Get it right and it will yield a loyal and sustainable pipeline of flexible talent. 3: Be honest If there is potential for the job to turn permanent, shout this from the rooftops. In our recent survey, the possibility of a permanent post was the number one reason for candidates to consider a temp or contract role. On the other hand, if no permanent opportunity exists, be honest with this and manage expectations from the outset. Remember, many temporary and contract workers won’t consider a permanent job either, so honesty is always the best policy. 4: Consider a specialist partner At least consider the benefits a good agency partner can bring. Specialist agencies will already have pre-screened and pre-qualified candidates available immediately, saving you crucial time and effort. The agency takes on the costs of advertising across multiple channels, again saving you money and time. They look after employment contracts, help keep you compliant, and run payroll, saving you further on admin overheads. Good agencies can also validate salary levels and advise on availability of talent in the market. Don’ts: 1: Wait Apart from unexpected emergency cover, don’t wait until the last minute to look for temp or contract staff. Like all recruitment, forward planning will allow you to access better talent in higher numbers either directly or through a partner. 2: Ignore compliance Understand legislation as it applies to temps and contractors. Don’t assume that because they are temps, they have few or no rights. A good agency partner will help here. 3: Forget to measure No matter what size your flexible workforce is, don’t forget to audit it. How is spend on flexible workers controlled, for example, by HR, procurement or hiring managers? Keep an eye on tenures also. 4: Undervalue This is crucial. Remember, today’s temp may be tomorrow’s permanent member of staff. A good experience for a temp will encourage them to return, but also provides a rich pool from which permanent hires may come. While some view contractors as expensive, bear in mind the specialist expertise they can bring with them, and remember they can also transfer their knowledge to your internal staff, improving the overall level of expertise within your organisation.

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“K-shaped” Workforce Patterns Begin to Emerge with Major Spike in Flexi-labour

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Sigmar’s COVID Jobs Initiative Guides ONE in SIX Newly Unemployed in its First Three Months

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Sigmar Recruitment today announces the impact of its, not for profit, COVID Response Jobs initiative three months after its launch. The online platform was set up as the COVID crisis took hold, and subsequently saw six hundred thousand people lose their jobs. It was set up to connect jobseekers with frontline jobs, offer career advisory services as well as free up-skilling opportunities for the restricted workforce, ultimately to support a more robust and effective recovery. The initiative has since seen: 83,716 jobseekers’ availed of career advisory services ranging from; video interviewing, remote working, digital collaboration, social branding, job hunting in the low-touch economy to traditional advice on interview preparation, and CV content. 10,702 availed of free online upskilling, through learning partner Alison.com. Most common courses completed were in Project Management and MS Excel. 3,010 jobseekers connected with over 200 frontline employers across retail & grocery, catering, healthcare, supply chain, production, security, and warehousing. 900+ jobs advertised over the period. 15,050 jobseekers subscribed on weekly basis for employment insights. Commenting on the initial results, founder of the initiative and Sigmar CCO Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig said; “ We’ve been overwhelmed by the level of engagement amongst jobseekers coming to the site, particularly the quantum availing of the career advisory services, which have been tailor-made to support the remote job search in the current environment. Recruitment has changed significantly in recent months and how jobseekers compete is now very different from what it was. Our career advisory service has helped jobseekers articulate competencies and achievements through a digital recruitment process for a lower touch economy.” “In addition, we are delighted to have supported over 200 frontline employers in a meaningful way and in turn help keep the national infrastructure up and running.” Commenting on the take up of upskilling, Mac Giolla Phádraig added; “We had 10,702 people take up free learning pathways through our partner Alison.com, in subjects such as Project Management, MS Excel, Web development, Data Science, GDPR, Accounting and many more. In addition to skills training, the learning content has been COVID curated for maximum impact across Business Skills, IT Skills, Mental Health, and Personal Development. Thanking partners of the initiative, Mac Giolla Phádraig commented; “When times were at their worst, our partners were at their best. It’s humbling to see how our combined efforts, can touch so many at a time of need and to see the effect of Team Ireland in action.” www.covidresponsejobs.com was created by Sigmar Recruitment, supported by Candidate Manager, Alison.com, The Irish Times, Communicorp and Virgin Media