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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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Salary Guide 2022

Salary Guide 2022

​Our 2023 guide will launch in Feb 2023. Request your copy here​------------------------------​Salary Guide 2022 (Full)Salary Guide Ireland 2022 (PDF)Salary Guide 2022 by DepartmentAccountancy & Finance Construction & Property Services Financial Services & InsuranceHRITLegal & ComplianceLife SciencesManufacturing & EngineeringMarketingMultilingualOffice SupportSalesSupply ChainExecutive Summary From Adie McGennis, CEOWhat a year! We came into the year with high uncertainty but hope that we had all seen the chaotic stage of the pandemic over and a “New Normal” (or “New Abnormal”) giving stability and growth to businesses and economies. Equity markets and job vacancies grew in the first half of 2021 to record levels. At Sigmar, we had experienced our strongest month in twenty years by May and have broken business records since then. It applied to both the permanent and temp/contract jobs market. This in itself, is unusual because generally strong markets see an increase in permanent hiring, and less utilisation of temps and contractors. Such was the nearly frenzied, demand that companies looked for any solution to enable their growth. Salary inflation, as well as price inflation, began to increase, but all indicators show that further increases are coming. This was across the board, but particularly in IT and life sciences. Certain skills are experiencing double digit inflation, purely because demand is at an all-time high. Supply of skills by re-training or re-educating staff from sectors that suffered (retail, hospitality, etc.) was slow. It does present opportunities for SMEs to compete with larger multinationals, as the employee experience has never been more important and the flexibility that SMEs can generally give and the speed by which they can move, can give significant edge. Remote work obviously continued to increase significantly, and hybrid models seem generally to be the optimum for employees. Tax and legislative issues with working in a different country has slowed this internationalisation, but it does present excellent talent opportunities once it is well planned. Traditional professions, like accounting, HR and legal grew as pent-up demand was evident. In Ireland particularly, construction is very buoyant after the tight Covid restrictions closed many sites in 2021 lifted and the need for housing requires a large increase in activity in the coming years. So, a year of unprecedented growth in demand for talent, giving challenge and opportunity. The recovery of economies will sustain this growth throughout 2022 but some apprehension prevails that global economic shocks could accelerate recession. So, it is difficult to be over-confident on a medium-term basis. Predictions are difficult but I would estimate that demand will begin to level out and drop late 2022 and return to more “normal” or pre-Covid levels in 2023. The various Covid strains continue to challenge, but more importantly we hope everyone stays safe and healthy. 

Job Activity0

Irish jobs market reaches 20-year high, as office re-entry drives unprecedented levels of recruitment activity

Irish jobs market reaches 20-year high, as office re-entry drives unprecedented levels of recruitment activity

Sigmar Recruitment today reports a record high number of job placements over April, May, and June 2021. The number of placements during this period is higher than any other quarter in the recruitment company’s 20-year history. Current figures are up 6% on the previous record set in 2019 before the pandemic. As one of the largest recruiters in Ireland, Sigmar has offices across the country and is present in all professional sectors. The first half of the year saw strong, consistent growth with job placements breaking all records in the month of May, with June accounting for the second-highest month ever. Commenting on the rebound of the labour market, Sigmar founding Director, Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “The jobs market in Ireland has never been stronger or more buoyant than it currently is. We’re seeing several macro trends converge all at once, which is creating significant churn in the market. Remote working has literally opened up a world of new opportunities no longer bound by location. This is coupled with a rising tide of consumer confidence, as many professionals find themselves in a stronger financial position than before the pandemic. “The last 18 months has asked big questions of us all, and the humdrum of lockdown has created a desire for change which is now resulting in unprecedented numbers of people moving jobs. Employee loyalty is increasingly under question, with remote work being less enjoyable, many workers are now committed to the experience of work over the employer, adding further to the current levels of churn.” IT accounted for one-third of all job placements throughout the quarter, followed in order by Financial Services, Sales & Marketing, Accountancy, Life Science & Manufacturing, Office Support, Public Sector, Construction, Professional Services. Business confidence has also grown steadily over the course of the year, as vaccination gathered momentum. The “low-touch economy” is booming is sectors such as e-commerce, digital, and logistics. Says Mac Giolla Phádraig: “The resurgence of permanent recruitment is somewhat unique to how we’ve rebounded from previous downturns, where we typically saw flexible work return quicker.” Although the vast majority of job placement in Q2 were understandably remote, Sigmar reports that the tide is beginning to change with the majority of employers now committing to hybrid work over the coming three months. Mac Giolla Phádraig advises: “As we now choose our workplaces, at a time when the power dynamic has shifted to the employee, employers need to ensure adequate work practices to reconnect the workforce with the workplace equitably. There is an inherent risk that new workforce inequities may emerge, such as “proximity bias”, where those closest to the centre of influence get greater recognition and therefore promotion opportunities as opposed to remote workers. When it comes to individual contribution the opposite could be argued that remote workers get the benefit of having less in-office distractions and their output is therefore greater.” Mac Giolla Phádraig likens remote work to long-distance relationships, which in many cases don’t work out. “We’ve gone from “living” with our employees in an office environment to long-distance relationships, which often sees commitment recede over time. The context of location also opens up new experiences and possibilities, which are now being explored on a scale never before seen.” He adds, “if we thought the war for talent was tough, just wait for the battle of attrition. It’s now emerging as the number one challenge for businesses across the globe.”    

Company Culture

Keeping Company Culture Alive Across a Remote Workforce

Keeping Company Culture Alive Across a Remote Workforce

With the majority of our teams now working remotely, the challenges of creating and maintaining company culture are evident.  Technology can’t replace what the workplace provides: community, camaraderie and shared purpose. Now, more than ever, maintaining culture matters.  Here are some ideas on instilling company culture across remote employees:     1. Connect Back to Your Values & Purpose For many of our staff currently, working remotely has been unexpected and in the face of a global health crisis, many are at a loss for what to do. For some work may feel insignificant now, so as their manager this is your time to help employees find meaning and reconnect back to your company’s values and purpose. While you may not be a company at the frontline, you still have a positive impact on people’s lives. Remind your employees of how their contributions add up to something much bigger and that we are all in this together!     2. Communication is Key Communication within divisions, one to one, social gatherings, company updates, all need to be consistent. This maintains relationships and promotes inclusivity.    Create an open and transparent communication policy. This allows people to be themselves and feel comfortable reaching out via online chat platforms. Set expectations on communication methods. Where do meetings take place? What tool is for social sharing?    Finally, you need to put an emphasis on positivity in your written communication. With the absence of face to face interactions in virtual conversations, it is easy for tone to be interpreted negatively so you need to be extra careful to be positive.        3. Mimic the Water Cooler Effect As mentioned, many of our staff are currently missing the day-to-day work interactions they have with their colleagues. Therefore, assign a platform where team members can live chat, share files, post photos and collaborate throughout the day to mimic everyday office life.  This can be where some of the best ideas and knowledge can be shared yet at the same time promotes inclusivity and the sense of “team”.     4. Trust In a remote team, there aren't any silly rules about being in your seat during certain hours of the day. This means at the end of the week you either have something to show for your week or not. This means you trust that your teammates are getting something done. But also, that your teammates trust you. To earn that trust you want to make sure you have something to show for your work each week.     5. Focus on Health & Wellbeing In the midst of a global pandemic, now is not the time to forget about your wellness programme when stress and anxiety is elevated. Make sure to check in with remote employees that they are taking breaks, finishing on time, and are maintaining a healthy work-life balance.   Make online workouts available to your employees allowing them to take part in physical activity. Perhaps set a company challenge such as a step challenge to get employees engaged in physical activity and as a plus networking with colleagues. For those struggling with sleep or anxiety, provide access to meditation or breathing courses. And to look after financial wellbeing consider organising webinars on topics such as managing a household budget, how your pension works, setting financial goals etc.      6. Rituals and Traditions Creating traditions with your team members, regardless of how often they happen, helps keep teams cohesive and encourages open communication and trust. Before you were thrown into the digital remote working world, undoubtedly you had traditions in place for how promotions, achievements and even birthdays were recognised. To keep spirits up, it’s crucial you keep celebrating these milestones.      7. Ask for Feedback Finally, the introduction to remote working has been unprecedented for many of us. Therefore, ask employees for honest feedback and suggestions. Use a pulse survey to get real data on this.      "You don’t need everyone physically together to create a strong culture. The best cultures derive from actions people actually take.” Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, Authors of Remote  

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Sigmar Announces “COVID Ready” Learning Partnership with Alison to Upskill Newly Unemployed

Sigmar Announces “COVID Ready” Learning Partnership with Alison to Upskill Newly Unemployed

Sigmar Recruitment and Alison today announce a COVID ready learning partnership as part of the emergency jobs initiative www.covidresponsejobs.com. The initiative is an online platform set up by Sigmar Recruitment to help connect the displaced workforce with current frontline job opportunities, and to upskill the restricted workforce to enhance career prospects and enable a faster economic recovery. Alison, one of the largest learning websites worldwide, is now offering access to all of its courses free and unencumbered through www.covidresponsejobs.com.    The learning content being offered through the platform has been hand curated to reflect in-demand, recession-proof skills across an array of business and IT disciplines, including; data science project management customer service accounting web development computer networking e-commerce The core learning has been paired with lifestyle courses covering mental health, stress management and practical content on parenting while working from home for example aimed to support those working remote throughout the crisis period and beyond. The learning pathways have also been designed with jobseekers in mind with content on public speaking, job hunting, personal development supported by jobseeker advice on how to compete in the current marketplace, including tips on video interviewing, digital collaboration, remote onboarding and much more. Commenting on the partnership, founder of the initiative and Sigmar CCO Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “As one of the world’s largest free learning platforms, Alison presents an excellent opportunity for newly unemployed in Ireland to upskill. The learning content has been COVID curated for maximum impact encompassing business skills, IT skills, mental health and personal development. We also aim to support the restricted workforce by providing upskilling opportunities during  the downtime, to better equip our workforce to rebound from the crisis in the medium term.” Speaking at the announcement, Alison Founder & CEO, Mike Feerick stated that the gesture is one Alison is happy to make. “While being a global learning business, most of our team live and work in Ireland and know personally people whose employment has been jeopardised by the coronavirus pandemic crisis. Alison has over 1,500 free certificate and diploma courses, in subjects from project management, languages, IT, to health & safety, elderly caregiving, MS Excel and free courses on GDPR. “If you have been laid off, it is an opportunity to build up and strengthen your workplace skills to enhance your chances for employment in the months and years ahead. We are delighted to partner with Sigmar on the COVID Jobs Initiative.”  www.covidresponsejobs.com is a for purpose “Team Ireland” initiative created by Sigmar Recruitment, supported by Alison, Candidate Manager, The Irish Times and Communicorp, established to mobilise the Irish Workforce.