Construction Opportunities Soar for Workers & Recruiters

Construction Opportunities Soar for Workers & Recruiters

Aug 11, 2021

The keen uptake of the Coronavirus vaccinations alongside our progression into summer has had many positive impacts on the construction industry, not only creating a host of new roles and possibilities for workers but a great opportunity for recruiters too.

Brought about by easing lockdowns, increased coronavirus vaccine rollout, and a general unlocking of the economy, the construction industry has been recovering strongly since the beginning of the year. In a recent report published by the Office for National Statistics, it is noted that “monthly construction output grew by 5.8% in March 2021 because of growth both in new work (6.7%) and repair and maintenance (4.4%).” This rate of growth isn’t expected to slow down any time soon, with REC reporting a rapid surge in both permanent and temporary placements, the quickest pace that demand for workers has increased in over 23 years.

Despite the turbulence this past year, these stats speak for themselves in opening up an ever-increasing number of opportunities for construction workers in a wide variety of sectors.


Opportunities Rise in Plenty of Sectors

At the front of the line-up, private housing has witnessed a boom in underlying project starts (projects with a construction value of less than £100 million) from January-May 2021. Project starts value has increased by 70% and is predicted to continue to increase by 53% before the end of 2021, according to recent stats published by Glenigan. Social housing and student accommodation projects are also expected to increase, opening up plenty of new job opportunities for both permanent and temporary construction workers.

Health facilities and schools are also contributing to the upward trajectory. Local authorities are forecast to propose a range of secondary school construction projects as they’re currently struggling to offer a place to every child. Additionally, the Government’s plans to deliver 40 ‘new’ hospitals over the next 10 years is set to contribute to the industry’s overall growth, with project approvals expected to rise by 14% by 2022 as new proposals are put forward.

Plenty of large civil engineering projects have come to fruition this year, having an undeniably positive impact, with the likes of HS2, Thames Tideway, Hinkley Point, and The Stonehenge Tunnel opening up vast opportunities nationwide.


Supply and Demand

There has also been a clear rise in demand for distribution and warehousing space in the manufacturing sector, as the current lack of construction materials is triggering some suppliers to make provisions for additional demand with precautionary warehouse space.

Although this is opening up potential long-term projects, the manufacturing sector faced one of its toughest years in 2020. The global pandemic and changing Brexit regulations led manufacturers to struggle to make profits due to worker sickness, rising materials costs, and rising freight costs, the impacts of which are still reverberating across the entire construction industry.

According to a recent article, surveyors expect material prices to continue to rise by another 10% over the next 12 months as the entire construction supply chain struggles to keep up with the demand for workers and materials created by the booming sectors above.

In fact, the price of materials at a time of ever-increasing demand was flagged as a major problem in the latest RICS Construction and Infrastructure Survey for Q2 2021, which also noted that 82% of respondents were experiencing materials shortages (up from 57%). Labour and skills shortages are also increasingly cited as obstacles for businesses looking to start projects, especially for hirers looking for quantity surveyors and other “white collar” roles.


Regulatory Impact on Recruiters

This labour and skill shortage is having a knock-on effect on recruiters who find themselves struggling to fill every role with skilled workers in a time of increasing demand and rapidly-growing opportunity. Their struggle is only magnified thanks to changes to Right to Work Checks and other immigration regulations that have been implemented under Brexit.

Though this can seem like a daunting mountain to climb for many consultants, this is an opportunity for successful and enterprising recruiters to help their hirers navigate this complex and turbulent landscape. If recruiters are willing to go the extra mile to support clients, explaining the new regulatory requirements and working closely with them to identify the best-skilled workers for the roles, this is the perfect time to set themselves apart from their competition.

This is the case for both permanent roles and temporary positions, where understanding the value of employment models like the Construction Industry Scheme will be invaluable in providing a satisfactory employment solution for both hirers and contractors, avoiding the regulatory complications of IR35, while helping skilled workers to receive a higher level of take-home pay (paying 20% tax compared to 30% if they don’t work through CIS).


A Time of Opportunity

With the construction business booming in many of the largest sectors, now is a time of opportunity for construction workers and recruiters alike.

For workers, despite the rising material prices and supply shortages, there is also a rising demand for skilled labour which is set to continue as fewer EU immigrants are returning to work in the UK post-Brexit and Covid-19. This is a situation that can be taken advantage of to help you find the best, highest-paying roles to suit your skills.

For recruiters, we’ve seen multiple times how these periods of complexity can become the best opportunities to rise above your competitors and support hirers to understand their regulatory demands by offering your compliance expertise and knowledge of a variety of payment models that appeal to workers.

To find out more about how we can help you get to grips with CIS and other regulatory requirements for temporary construction workers, don’t hesitate to get in touch on 01244 684700.

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