It is no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption for businesses across the construction industry. However, with the government already looking at making the construction industry a priority sector and the launch of the new playbook looking to help the industry recover from the coronavirus pandemic. There is hope for a slow but steady recovery throughout 2021.
Recruitment within in the construction sector has been heavily impacted with some sites having to close completely, whilst others have remained open, but have had to adjust completely with reductions in labour to enable them to comply with government safety guidelines. This resulting in a halt on most aspects on construction recruitment.
It is estimated that almost 80% of construction businesses have been forced to make use of the coronavirus job retention scheme and the vast majority of recruitment activities were put on hold, due to many companies working remotely following government advisement to stay home.
Despite being one of the quickest sectors to reopen after the early stages of lockdown, many within the construction industry have handled the immediate impacts of lockdown restrictions as best as possible. With the government go-ahead that construction can now continue to remain open and function throughout lockdown, businesses are now looking to get things moving again. Investing in having the right people in place is a vital element of getting business and their projects back on track.
What can we expect to see happen to recruitment processes in the sector over the next few months?
With the industry having fallen behind on a lot of projects, 2021 predicts the industry could see an increase in job opportunities within the sector looking to catch up. The construction industry is starting the road to recovery which will come with its own set of challenges, but also allows for major opportunities and the potential to bring in a wider range of new workers.
People are desperately looking for jobs and employers are receiving more job applications and CVs than ever from people trying to break into the sector. With shortages continuing in key areas of the industry there is a high demand for construction skills in the hopes of getting any sectors that have fallen behind back on track.
The Government have set out plans for a ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee’ in order to recognise the need for new skills within the sector. The scheme aims for those without A-Levels or equivalent qualification to be offered a free, fully-funded college course alongside an increase in apprenticeship opportunities. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises are being offered increased funding for taking on apprentices.
Universities are seeing an increase of students applying hoping to break through to their chosen profession. Some choosing more hands-on courses such as productivity and construction courses, something we welcome with open arms as we hope to kickstart growth and level up construction industry careers.
Some businesses have taken this opportunity to start the recruitment process early with the idea to recruit now but have a delayed start date on any new employees.
Employers are keen to attract this demographic and offering a variety of roles such mentoring opportunities which will provide more on the job training and experience making their businesses much more appealing.
Covid-19 has encouraged greater digital adaptation within the construction industry and the use of this technology such as drones and artificial intelligence has indeed made an advance in regard to on site working. But on-site construction is not the only aspect of the industry that can benefit from the inclusion of digital technology. Recruitment has also had the opportunity to take advantage of this technology. The process of recruitment can be lengthy and time-consuming. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems can give recruitment a competitive advantage. Offering a smarter, more efficient system within the recruitment process. AI can be used to schedule interviews, screen CV’s and using algorithms, can match the right people to the right jobs, showing the relevant jobs to targeted audiences. Chatbots can also be used to increase candidate engagement. All these factors leading to an increase in productivity that also equates to lower business costs.
Looking ahead for the construction industry, things are predicted to have a gradual but sustained recovery in the year ahead. Industry forecasters are predicting construction output will rise 14% this year, we keep our fingers crossed that this will be a good year for the construction industry with many opportunities.
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