Construction makes urgent new year bid to recruit and retain talent

While a range of industries such as hospitality, leisure and retail continue to reel from the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown, construction has become one of the shining lights for job hunters, bouncing back from its 41% fall in vacancies in March 2020 to become an area where recruitment is now picking up.

This morning (26 January 2021) the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its latest ‘Labour Market Overview’ with all employment-related statistics for the UK. Although unemployment rates continue to rise, job hunters can take some comfort from encouraging figures about the industry’s recovery.

The new figures from the ONS show that vacancies in the sector are now 8% higher than the same period last year, pre-COVID. There are an estimated 28,000 vacancies. Construction is one of just two sectors to have seen an increase in vacancies overall since December 2019.

The ONS says: “Construction was one of the sectors to see a large quarterly fall in vacancies at the start of the pandemic in April to June 2020, with a recovery since the summer.”

To encourage more people to sign up, a free-to-use recruitment platform, the Construction Talent Retention Scheme, is launching its social media campaigns promoting opportunities for workers.

The Construction Talent Retention Scheme is a not-for-profit programme, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and backed by business organisations and construction unions. Its online portal enables job hunters to upload their CV and make contact with more than 770 potential employers.

The portal is currently advertising 1,124 live vacancies for roles from senior construction project managers to customer service staff, engineers, salespeople, estimators, digger operators, HGV drivers, electricians, plasterers and plumbers, and warehouse assistants.

Three women seeking roles in the industry (Julie Traynor, Liza Zanoni and Anne Couesnon) are among 1,400 candidates who have already signed up to the scheme.

Julie Traynor, a chartered quantity surveyor and barrister, says: “After my management consultancy and social strategy business was severely impacted by COVID-19, I was so pleased to find the Construction Talent Retention Scheme.

“Knowing that employers can access my professional profile is wonderful. It makes the whole process less stressful. I would definitely recommend to anyone seeking a role to sign up to the Construction Talent Retention Scheme.”

Liza Zanoni had been working as a Project Manager for a small building company in Wales until last October. She says: “As soon as my role was at risk of redundancy, I put as much time and effort as I could into making use of all of the different platforms and channels to look for jobs and to network with people. I first found out about the Construction Talent Retention Scheme and immediately liked what I saw.”

Anne Couesnon has been using the scheme to look for new roles in business development and bid management. She says: “I logged on to the site and found it was easy to use. It contains a large database of companies I’m interested in working for and is updated with new roles.”

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