The UK's economic climate remains fragile at best, and despite the construction industry experiencing a record period of growth since the pandemic, this is balanced against a background of construction firm collapses and financial insecurity.
With mortgage rates at a record high and incomes continuing to be squeezed by high food, fuel and energy prices, the demand for new homes is waning, although with internet shopping and local manufacturing remaining booming industries, warehouse and factory construction continues apace.
So where does this leave new entrants to the industry and those experienced staff seeking their next challenge?
How recruitment and construction align
The areas of greatest growth in the last few years have been private new build housing, industrial facilities and infrastructure projects. When order books are bulging and demand is high, it is necessary to power ahead with all hands on deck to deliver to the required time, cost and quality parameters.
However, rising inflationary pressures and the increasing cost of raw materials, coupled with the uncertainty over the future of major infrastructure projects such as HS2 cause construction firms to act in a cautious manner, restricting recruitment activity to remain within tight profit margins.
To thrive in this modern and uncertain world, however, it is necessary to employ innovative new solutions to navigate the challenges that we are facing.
Recruiting for success
It may be that now is, in fact, the perfect time to bolster the construction workforce. Although thinner order books increase pressure on companies to remain profitable, they also present an ideal opportunity for upskilling the workforce, embedding modern technologies and streamlining processes to create a more efficient way of doing business.
Equally, when the market cools, as is the case at present, risk averse firms are more inclined to release non-essential but skilled workers, and forward-thinking companies would be wise to snap up this talent while they have the opportunity.
How to attract the top talent
The strongest candidates will be attracted to firms that offer them exciting propositions. They will need to be confident of the company's ability to deliver, despite the economic pressures that they face, and they will want the certainty of a minimum contract duration and a competitive compensation package.
Companies with a strong track record for delivery will stand the best chance of securing the additional talent that they need to bolster their workforce, accumulating a skilled and diverse team that will bring an essential mix of traditional building experience and next-gen technical acumen.
Take time for training
Although there may not be immediate projects on which to deploy your workforce, this is a great opportunity for developing their skills and experience such that productivity and project quality will be improved in the long term.
Grants are available from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)  to support employers to upskill and reward their workforce, creating a future-ready team that is ready to face the upcoming challenges proactively.
Where is this talent?
Well, we're glad that you asked! At Build Space, we are delighted to work with some of the leading experts in the construction industry. We have deep-rooted connections to all of the major construction firms and nurture a talent pool of skilled individuals who are looking for their next move, on either a temporary or permanent basis.
By choosing Build Space to bolster your team, you will negate the need for complicated and costly recruitment processes, benefit from our experience in securing the right person for your vacancy and enjoy the ease with which our transparent communication processes simplify your team building journey.
In summary, an economic downturn may not appear to be the appropriate time to think about building your construction workforce, but it presents a number of opportunities to businesses that are willing to take the risk. There is an increased availability of talent, less competition to secure them and a distinct period in which they can be assimilated into the team, upskilled as required and prepared for their first deployment in which they will no doubt add value and support the achievement of business objectives.
Now really is the time to strengthen your workforce and position yourself for future success.