In a recent survey conducted by Anderselite through LinkedIn, it was discovered that the majority (45%) of our client base were concerned about a talent and skills shortage over the next 5 years in the construction industry.
This was viewed as more of a concern than materials shortages, budgetary constraints, or any other potential issue. According to a report by the CITB:
“Overall we expect output to grow at an average rate of 4.4% across 2021-2025, meaning that construction will need to recruit an extra 217,000 workers, or over 43,000 per year.”
This will take the total workforce to 2.84 million. Many of the candidates required will be in the wood and electrical trades, as well as project management and other disciplines.
The demand for talent over the next few years is clear, and in order to ensure huge construction and infrastructure projects like HS2 can be delivered, finding this talent is crucial. So, with the construction market booming in the aftermath of the coronavirus lockdowns, how are we working to tackle future talent issues?
Planning for future talent
Over recent months, our Anderselite team in Birmingham has been developing relationships with several schools in the local area in order to pass on the details of potential future workers to institutions like Wolverhampton College to allow them to gain the skills they need for a career in construction.
We have also hosted a talk to over 40 sixth form leavers at Coleshill School about HS2 and the construction opportunities this project presents. Capturing potential talent at every point of their career development, especially before it really begins, is essential.
Across all of our projects, we work towards a sustainable employment model. We aim to ensure that the workers we support leave a project with more skills than they joined with, giving them a sustainable career plan. Therefore, we support their upskilling, recognising both client and industry-specific trends, to ensure that the construction skills of the future are delivered ahead of time. Dan Butler, director at Anderselite, comments:
“A good example of this is that we’ve turned a labourer into a banksman through added training and competencies. We also have a Gateman who we are turning into a forklift truck driver. We have another labourer that we’re turning into a foreman. When we have our candidates on-site we’re trying to improve them to bring them to the next level and fill roles that way.”
Sourcing talent with technology
Technology like TalentDNA makes the application process an asset and is key when sourcing the right talent for construction.
TalentDNA takes the typical applicant journey down from 4-10 weeks to complete and optimises it to only 25 minutes, delivering a high-quality candidate experience via an innovative, self-serve and customisable tech platform.
In many of the difficult to fill roles in construction, applicants may come from other industries or sectors. The use of skills testing at this stage in the process helps level the playing field for them, as the application process is skills-based and not pre-selected on degree criteria, grade, or work experience. In an industry that thrives on innovation, the intelligent processes that the app delivers provides our clients with the leading edge they need to compete in the market, making them the employer of choice.
Within 25 minutes applicants can:
Take two tests (a short behaviours/personality test and a technical knowledge test),
Get immediate feedback on their progress and, if successful,
Have the choice to ‘book a chat with a recruiter’, or
Immediately progress into a talent pool.
Based on the outcome of the assessments, the app can be customised to include additional information relevant to the skills and behaviours shown by the candidate and target them to the applicable business unit.
In the current landscape, it is not simply enough to attract more of the right candidates; we must also ensure that these workers are retained in the industry and managed compliantly as part of the construction organisations that we work with.
Never has the health, safety and wellbeing of our people been more important and we must adapt our behaviours and processes to safeguard our workers now and for the future. As an organisation who engage a high volume of remote or contract workers, we understand construction organisations may face challenges such as identifying remote workers, health, safety, and wellbeing culture, inaccurate time/attendance data, monitoring non-compliance and worker-employer communication.
In response, we have developed the 'Fit for Work' app designed to help businesses effectively safeguard their workers. Built in partnership with technology and artificial intelligence specialists facecheck.ai, the app is designed to improve health, safety and wellbeing of workers on site by prompting workers to answer shift relevant health and safety questions before work is started. It includes facial recognition for worker identity, time / location monitoring, health and safety briefings and more.
Ensuring compliance of current and future workforces
With the demand for workers so high in the construction industry at present, there is a risk of placing underqualified candidates or those lacking in the relevant competencies into roles purely to ensure they are filled.
The industry is also facing other issues when it comes to compliance, as Dan explains:
“We’re seeing a lot of red flags in our vetting process, more than we’ve seen in a while. Modern slavery is more of a risk than ever, and we’ve even seeing incidences of candidates providing passports and documents that are completely fake. Like anything else that people might want to source criminally, labour is no different. Fortunately, we can check these through our use of TrustID and our thorough vetting process. But it’s a real issue, and we make sure every operative we deploy is compliant, legal and competent as part of our service, removing the risk for the client.”