Recruitment Still a Major Challenge for Construction Industry

Construction recruitment for surveyorsThe latest report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has found that recruitment continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing the construction industry. The RICS report is based on a survey of the construction industry in the first quarter of 2017. It found that there was a net increase of 27% in the number of people reporting that they had more work.

This shows that the construction industry is still doing well with plenty of new orders coming in. Like the recent report from the CITB that we covered one of the biggest growth areas is predicted infrastructure projects, but private housing and private commercial developments have also seen an increase. Of all the areas surveyed the construction industry in London and the South East reported the highest levels of growth.


Blockers to construction industry growth

The RICS report found there were a number of factors holding back the construction industry. 70% of respondents reported that access to finance was an issue, while 61% of respondents cited planning and regulation as issues.  Rounding out the top 3 issues for the construction industry was recruiting construction workers.

It is the usual construction trades and professions where recruitment is a particular problem such as recruiting bricklayers and surveyors. Interestingly though the RICS survey found that it is quality rather than quantity which is posing the biggest problem for construction recruiters.


Recruiting Quality Construction Workers

As well as providing statistics which show the overall opinion on the state of the construction industry the RICS it also gives us some of their raw responses. When asked about challenges with construction recruitment in London and the South East some of the responses were:

“The pending immigration controls due to Brexit will impact skills shortages”.

“Our main constraint is finding good quality candidates at sustainable salaries”

“Lack of essential trade skills”.

“Recruitment of quality Building Surveyors at reasonable cost continues to be problematic”

There were many other responses from around the country that followed a similar theme. The common problem is not simply recruiting anyone, it is getting the right people at rates that make sense in the long-term. For a short-term bricklaying contract it is possible to throw lots of money at the problem to get staff. For longer-term recruitment such as for surveyors this is not really sustainable. As lots of the respondents pointed out the only real way to solve ongoing construction recruitment issues is to train more people and to train them better.


RedRock Recruitment are a specialist construction recruitment agency working in London and the South East. We recruit across the construction industry from labourers and bricklayers up to surveyors and project managers. If you are struggling to recruit the people you need at sustainable prices we can help. Just give us a call on 01992 807911

Over 2.6 million now working in construction

A new report from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has found that the number of people working in construction in the UK is now over 2.6 million. The last time the number were this high was in 2009 before the full effect of the credit crunch had hit. The number of construction workers is predicted to continue rising over the next 5 years, albeit at the relatively low rate of 0.6%.

There are current shortages in the construction industry around carpenters and bricklayers. While these shortages are not predicted to disappear many of the roles that will need to be filled in the next 5 years will be technical or management.  The table below shows the number of people working in various parts of the construction industry now and in the numbers predicted to be there in 2021.

Job 2017 2021 Difference
Senior, executive, and business process managers 172,930 177,710 4,780
Construction project managers 47,800 52,110 4,310
Non-construction professional, technical, IT and other office-based staff 356,430 373,120 16,690
Construction trades supervisors 49,010 52,980 3,970
Wood trades and interior fit-out 264,720 262,920 -1,800
Bricklayers 72,700 72,760 60
Building envelope specialists 107,010 105,000 -2,010
Painters and decorators 112,180 111,080 -1,100
Plasterers 49,320 47,500 -1,820
Roofers 44,230 43,830 -400
Floorers 26,630 25,580 -1,050
Glaziers 30,620 29,680 -940
Scaffolders 23,600 24,390 790
Plant operatives 39,580 42,040 2,460
Plant mechanics/fitters 40,960 39,310 -1,650
Steel erectors/structural fabrication 25,700 25,450 -250
Labourers nec* 124,750 127,220 2,470
Electrical trades and installation 183,470 175,440 -8,030
Plumbing and HVAC Trades 166,600 161,100 -5,500
Logistics 22,070 23,260 1,190
Civil engineers 53,630 57,610 3,980
Architects 43,480 47,800 4,320
Surveyors 72,040 76,250 4,210

As you can see the areas with the biggest predicted increases are professional and office based staff including project managers, architects and surveyors. The biggest decreases are predicted to be in some of the more traditional trades such as electrical and plumbing work.


Infrastructure Growth

Part of the explanation for why more technical and professional construction roles will see the larger increases is down to the type of work expected to see most growth. The CITB report claims that government infrastructure projects will be responsible for 45% of all growth in the construction industry between 2017 and 2021. The Hinkley Point nuclear power station on its worn is estimated to account for 0.8% of construction output in 2021. With other new nuclear power stations and HS2 due to start in the next couple of years there is going to be a need for a large number of planning and support workers while less skilled labour is generally needed for this type of project.

The CITB projections do depend heavily on the government continuing with it’s current infrastructure spending plans and with Brexit not having a huge impact on construction. However, they are a useful guide for those involved in construction recruitment and skills training. For the professional and technical roles that the CITB are predicting will see the biggest growth it can easily take 4 or 5 years to train new people. Having a rough ideas of the likely construction recruitment needs in 2021 at least lets us start planning.


RedRock Recruitment are a specialist construction recruitment company serving London and the South of England. We do recruitment accross the construction industry, including for professional and technical roles. To find out more about our construction recruitment service give us a call on  01992 807911

Fears over skills shortages as construction industry grows

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the construction industry is continuing to grow. Although the monthly output rate for the construction industry can be pretty volatile the overall trend is one of steady growth.

growth in construction work overview graph

Most of the growth in the construction industry is coming from new contracts, with repair and maintenance work remaining fairly static.

Growth in different types of Construction work graph

A separate survey of construction subcontractors has found that subcontractors an average have 22 weeks’ worth work already in the pipeline, showing that there is plenty of work around. Most of this work is coming from commercial construction projects, with homebuilding being a close second.


Skills Shortages a Major Challenge

Although subcontractors generally reported having plenty of work on the books they also reported having problems recruiting skilled construction workers. 21% of subcontractors surveyed said that the construction skills shortage was a ‘future threat to their businesses’. The only factor seen as a bigger threat was late payment.

There has been a lot of press about the construction skills shortage recently. A number of trade reports have been released showing too few new workers being trained and there are fears that a lot of European workers may go home as a result of Brexit. According to figures from the Greater London Authority there are almost 95,000 European construction workers in London alone. If significant numbers of them leave as a result of Brexit then it could have a major impact on the ability of subcontractors and main contractors to complete construction projects.

For those subcontractors who are struggling to recruit skilled construction workers it is more important than ever use a specialist construction recruitment company like RedRock. Our recruiters know the skills that needed for different trades and how to assess that workers have the correct qualifications and experience. We also always speak to a workers references to check what their work was like. That way we can be sure that any construction workers we put forward for a job have the correct skills to get it done.

To find our more about our construction recruitment services give us a call on 01992 807911

How will Brexit hit construction recruitment in London?

There were reports this week that Brexit is already having a big impact on recruitment to the NHS. There has been a drop of 92% in the number of EU nurses applying to work in the NHS since the referendum. At the same time there has been a 68% increase in the number of EU nurses leaving the NHS. It will be a while before we are able to get similar figures for the construction industry but the impact could be just as dramatic. Around 5% of nurses in the NHS are from EU countries. In the construction industry the percentage of workers from the EU is higher, around 8% nationally.

As the table below shows very large numbers of construction workers in London are from the EU. Just the Polish and Romanian construction workers add up to almost 60,000.

Country Construction workers in London
Austria 279
Bulgaria 6,625
Croatia 291
Cyprus 509
Czech Republic 214
France 2,507
Germany 1,766
Greece 987
Hungary 685
Italy 730
Latvia 1,509
Lithuania 10,955
Poland 27,178
Portugal 1,220
Republic of Ireland 7,485
Romania 29,475
Slovakia 306
Spain 2,111

(Figures taken from Greater London Authority Labour Force Survey)

If the number of EU construction workers leaving was anywhere close to the levels seen in the NHS it could cause major issues for the construction industry in London. There are already shortages of skilled workers in a number of trades such as bricklaying and carpentry and large parts of the construction trade in London are propped up by EU workers.

Construction makes up around 3% of the workforce in London. However, the construction workers employed in London make up 11% of all UK construction workers. This means that London already pulls in a lot of construction workers from across the UK as well as from further afield. With the length of time it takes to properly train new construction workers it could be several years before a meaningful number of new construction workers can trained up.


Fixing the construction recruitment gap

If there are going to be less skilled construction workers available in London then finding the right workers for projects is going to be harder than ever. This is where a specialist construction recruitment company like RedRock Recruitment really comes into its own. We have access to many construction workers who are not on the general market and keep in close touch with people we have placed on fixed term contracts. Therefore we are ideally placed to fill construction recruitment gaps in London.

If you are struggling to recruit construction workers in London then give our team of specialist construction recruiters a call on 01992 807911 and we will be happy to help.


Schools and Colleges Failing to Help Construction Recruitment Gap

We all know that there is a skills gap in the construction industry. As a country the UK simply does not train enough young people to work in construction making it hard for construction companies to recruit the skilled staff that they need. Shortages could get worse in the next few years as uncertainly over Brexit may discourage the 12% of the construction workforce who are immigrants from staying. With another 19% of the construction workforce due to retire in the next five to ten years it is vital that training and recruitment into the construction industry works smoothly. Two new studies released this month highlight the scale of the problem.

A new survey by Redrow found that 50% of young people said they had not been given any information about careers in construction. This included verbal conversations with teachers and careers advisors as well as the careers literature available in their school. While schools were bad at discussing construction careers with young people the same survey found that 72% of parents have never discussed the prospect of a career in construction with their child. It is perhaps not surprising therefore that 52% of young people surveyed reported that they had never considered a career in construction.

Much of the reluctance among parents to discuss construction careers with their children was down to the perception of it being a low skill and low wage industry. These attitudes have carried over into their children with 55% of young people believing a career in construction mainly involves manual labour while 19% of young people believe a career in construction does not require any qualifications beyond GCSEs. There is, therefore, still a long way to go to educate schools, parents and young people about the opportunities available in construction.

While there is work to do to get more young people to apply for construction careers another new report suggests that more needs to improve the training new recruits receive. Research by the Unite union has found that 89% of people beginning a construction training course are studying for classroom based qualifications. The main qualifications recognised in the construction industry are NVQs which can only be gained with significant time on site. Without an NVQ it is not normally possible to get a Construction Sector Certification Scheme (CSCS) card which is required to get work on sites.  192,500 people started a classroom based construction course in 2015/16 compared to just 21,460 people who started an apprenticeship.

So, it seems that if we want to solve the problems with recruiting enough skilled workers into the construction industry there is still a lot to do. As an industry we need to make sure that the training we offer is up to scratch and then do more to make sure young people are aware of the careers and opportunities available.

Going the Extra Mile to Support Our Clients With Expert Construction Recruitment

In our last blog we looked at the anticipated growth of the construction industry in the UK, and the consequent increase in demand we are likely to see for construction workers between 2017 and 2021.

At RedRock Recruitment we take a strategic approach, and are already planning and working hard to fulfil the future needs of our clients.

One of the main advantages that we offer our clients is the scope of sectors that we cover, and the flexibility of construction experts that we have on offer. Our extensive database contains skilled people who are ready and waiting for roles in London and the South East on a permanent, contract or short term basis.

Our business is also differentiated by the fact that we are well-connected in the industry – we know exactly where to find expert staff if you need them, and can call upon our contacts if you are looking for a specialist who might be interested in being approached, but who is not on the open-market.

Working with our clients to manage their needs

We also understand that the best way to fulfil our clients’ needs is to work closely with them and develop an ongoing and sustainable relationship.  Our aim is to provide a no-fuss recruitment process tailored specifically to the needs and preferences of each of our clients, so how do we manage this?

Reference and qualification checking

We understand how vitally important it is to have the right person for the role and to ensure that your time is not wasted. So, we always double-check references and verify qualifications, to make sure that when we send you a candidate, you know that they are appropriate and ready to start work.

Providing support

We send a representative to check on your new recruit on the day that they start work – this ensures that you are happy and everything is in order.

We also provide ongoing support to our candidates to make sure that you have a good fit with your role.

Our experience

Our directors have over 20 years’ experience of working in construction recruitment throughout the South East and on some of the region’s most notable projects.

Superior service

We are delighted to say that our client retention is first class and that is because we work hard to provide a service which exceeds traditional expectations. This approach is integral to the way that we work, and includes added-value aspects such as supplying RedRock branded PPE if this is required by our clients.

Are you looking for construction staff and want to establish a relationship with a firm who will expertly manage your needs? Learn more about us or get in touch and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.


Construction Recruitment Boost with 179,000 New Jobs Expected in the Next 5 Years

The CITB (The Industrial Training Board for the Construction Industry) has published a report which anticipates steady growth in the UK construction industry during the period 2017 to 2021, despite the fears around political and economic uncertainty which have been clouding the picture for a while.

During 2017 to 2021 construction output is anticipated to grow at an average of 1.7% (this is just below the 1.8% expected average GDP growth).  This means that 179,000 new jobs will be created.

Infrastructure projects

A large proportion of the increase is expected to come from infrastructure projects which account for 45% of the anticipated construction growth. This means that the projections are heavily dependent on a number of high profile planned infrastructure projects – notably the Hinkley Point C and the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power stations and the first phase of High Speed  2, the UK’s planned new high speed rail network, all of which are due to start construction during this period. Private house building is also expected to continue to do well.

There are also marked regional differences with London, the South West, Wales and the North West expected to experience strong growth, whilst the North East and Scotland are likely to see a decline. Greater London in particular will see construction output rise by an annual average of 2.4% over the five year period.

What will be the effect on construction jobs?

The report anticipates that 35,740 new construction workers will be required each year to match growth, so suitably qualified personnel will be required in larger numbers. The CITB believes that some construction professions will be in particular demand:

  • Non construction professionals, technical and IT staff – 5,240
  • Wood trades people and interior fitters – 3,850
  • Electricians and installers – 2,250
  • Other construction professionals and technicians – 2,240
  • Other construction process managers – 2,150
Construction recruitment will require electricians
Electricians will be in demand

Good news for the construction industry and construction recruitment

This anticipated growth is good news for the industry and for construction professionals who have recently faced a degree of uncertainty, not least because of the question marks which still hang over the Brexit process.

At RedRock Recruitment we specialise in supporting construction companies to find the right people with the right skills to meet their needs, and as a full service agency, we are well placed to supply the professionals who are in the greatest demand – from general labourers, through all of the trades through to construction management professionals, in London, the Home Counties and throughout the Southeast.  Our rigorous vetting and recruitment process saves construction companies the headache of undertaking onerous recruitment themselves. We also have access to skilled and trusted trades people who can be supplied on short notice to support your construction project.

To find out how RedRock can support your business, find out more about us or get in touch today.

Skills Shortage Causing Construction Recruitment Problems

Bricklayer RecruitmentThe latest report from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has found that the skills shortage in the construction industry worsened in the last quarter of 2016. The FMB survey asked construction companies which trades they were struggling to recruit for. As usual the trades that were found to be most difficult to recruit for were bricklayers, carpenters and joiners. Over 50% of construction companies have been reporting problems hiring these trades for the last couple of years. The trade which has seen the biggest increase in shortages is roofing. At the start of 2015 only 25% of construction companies reported struggling to recruit roofers, at the end of 2016 this figure was 46%.


Sector % Difficulty Hiring
Bricklayers 58
Carpenters & Joiners 56
Roofers 46
Site Managers 44
Plumbers 41
Supervisors 41
Plasterers 39
Electricians 32
Civil Engineering Operatives 31
General Construction Operatives 29
Plant Operatives 29
Floorers 23
Painters & Decorators 20
Streel fixers 17
Scaffolders 14

Data from FMB State of Trade Survey for Q4 2016

Of course the skills shortage is good for many tradesmen, it means that they can pick and choose what jobs they want to do and command higher pay rates but it is damaging parts of the industry. The shortage of bricklayers in particular is causing issues on building sites with developments falling behind schedule. There have been reports of whole building projects grinding to a halt in more rural areas such as Norfolk where people don’t want to travel.

The skills shortage in the construction industry has a simple cause, we do not train enough construction workers. While there are various initiatives to encourage more young people to enter construction trades the industry it will take time to plug the gaps. In the next couple of years it is likely that construction companies will have more difficulty recruiting skilled tradesmen and have to spend more time and energy dong it.

This is where specialist construction recruitment companies like RedRock Recruitment are vital. We cannot solve the construction industry’s skills shortage but we can help construction companies find the vital tradesmen they need to get their projects done on time. Rather than construction companies themselves having to spend hours searching for the right person our experienced recruiters can leverage their contacts in the industry to find out the right people at the right time. Trades and Labour recruitment for bricklayers and carpenters is a key part of what we do at RedRock Recruitment. As well as being able to recruit bricklayers and carpenters for long-term placements we have a number of skilled and trusted tradesmen who we can supply on short notice to construction projects around London.

RedRock Recruitment provide specialist construction recruitment services for construction projects and companies in London and the surrounding areas. Working from our base in Essex we are able to recruit a wide range of skilled construction workers for short-term and long-term contracts. To find out more about our recruitment services please give us a call on 01992 807911.

Our Construction Recruitment Vetting Process

construction recruitment vettingOne of the things that makes RedRock Recruitment different is that our founders, and staff, come from two different backgrounds. As well as having people with a background in recruitment we also have people who have worked in the trade on construction sites. This includes people who have worked as construction managers, directly supervising tradesmen, labourers and professionals. As a result we take the vetting and selection of workers very seriously and will not send anyone to site who we don’t think has the right experience and credentials to do a good, and safe, job.

Wherever possible we like to get personal recommendations for construction workers and we do recruit a lot through word of mouth and through our contacts in the industry, especially for more specialist roles. However, as we do recruitment for construction sites in London and for construction companies in Essex, Hertfordshire and other areas around London we need pull staff from a lot of different locations and it isn’t possible to get personal recommendations for everyone.

Regardless of whether they come personally recommended to us or not we follow the same vetting procedure with all construction workers we recruit. This starts by checking that they hold the appropriate, up to date, qualifications for the role they are applying for and that they can back this up with valid trade and skills cards such as CSCS, JIB and CPCS. Skills cards CSCS, JIB and CPCS. As part of this process we will, of course, check that their health and safety qualifications are up to date.

Once we are sure that a candidate has the proper skills, and the proper qualifications, they will be asked to provide at least two references. We always check these references out fully and verify that they are up to date and accurate. If we are recruiting for skilled construction roles, or if we are recruiting for managerial or professional roles, extra checks will be undertaken at this point. This will involve talking to the candidates about projects they have worked on in the past and the exact level of their experience.


Supplying Temporary Construction Staff

Going through the proper vetting procedures for new candidates is pretty quick but we often get calls from people who need tradesmen and labourers on site immediately. To cater for projects where temporary and short notice workers are needed we have a roster of pre-vetted and trusted tradesmen and labourers who we can supply to construction sites around London.


To find out more about our construction rectruitment services please give us a call on 01992 807911