Focus on Recruitment in the Construction Industry during Covid19

Cranes at work in Construction industry

Focus on Recruitment in the Construction Industry during Covid19

The Construction industry has most certainly had its ups and downs in Ireland over the last decade or so.  We have seen extreme highs and lows in this area, and it is an industry that often acts as an indicator of how other industries will fare a little later.

Pre covid 19, the construction industry was enjoying a buoyant time.  There was a lot of activity nationwide and vacancies for Quantity Surveyors, Contracts Managers and Site Managers were plentiful.

The problem for recruitment in the industry was essentially sourcing quality candidates.  Demand and supply were out of synch and companies were struggling to fill key positions in their companies.

While the Covid related lockdowns put a halt to nearly all construction activity throughout the country. Since the tentative reopening of the sector in July, the original recruitment issues have presented themselves again – with a few twists!

Arcon Recruitment have a well-established Construction division.  Our clients are located all over the country with various turnover and staff headcount.  At Arcon we work hard to build relationships with these clients to ensure we know exactly what they need when a vacancy arises. We pride ourselves on our level of repeat business. Currently over 70% of revenue in this division comes from existing clients.  We take this as a sign we are doing well!

During the lockdowns we kept in touch with our clients and candidates.  As the darkness started to lift, and we began to make plans to return to some level of normality, we listened to what our clients and candidates were concerned about, and we tried to tailor our service to assist them the best way possible.

Changes in the interview process – Zoom /  MS Teams Interview

Regarding the recruitment process, the Zoom / MS Teams  interviews became the new normal.  Traditionally the construction industry relied heavily on face-to-face meetings and getting a feel for each other.  Interviews were often less structured than other industries.

While many industries have found that remote interview works just as well as face to face, this is unfortunately less true for the Construction industry.  Site based interviews are still very important.  A Site manager for example, really needs to see the site he will be responsible for, before he can decide whether the role is right for him.

However, an initial Zoom interview does allow the client and candidate to discuss the basics and allows an opportunity for any deal breakers to be unearthed.  This means, that a face to face socially distanced meeting will be more likely to lead to an offer of employment.

Working from home became a term we are all too familiar with thanks to the impact of Covid 19.  What was once quite an unusual practice has now become regular.  Employees have really showed their initiative in embracing this change and as a surprising result, many would prefer to continue working from home or at least have the option of a hybrid model to be considered.

New work practices – Hybrid Model

This change in practice has been an advantage for many employees in the Construction industry. Pre covid we saw many high-level Construction employees commute long distances either weekly or indeed daily to get to sites.  A more hybrid working model eliminates a lot of this travel – particularly to offices.  The admin side of their jobs can now be completed from home, in effect, reducing the commute for many.

Candidates who are seeking new positions are now much more comfortable seeking more flexible working models as part of their remuneration package than they would have pre covid, as it is now much more accepted within the industry as a working norm.

The advantage of this change for the employer is that that it opens a bigger pool of candidates – particularly from a location perspective.  This can only be a good thing, as good candidates such as BIM Technicians and Health and Safety advisors are very scarce now.

In essence, Covid has changed the recruitment process – both in a positive and negative way. The construction industry, due to its very traditional nature, has had to evolve and grow much more quickly that it is comfortable with.  We have seen more changes in the last 18 months than in the previous number of years.  Credit to the companies involved in this sector, they have stepped up and embraced the change.

As recruitment partners to many companies in this industry, we know the challenges our construction clients are facing. We are working with them, not just to overcome them, but to use some of these challenges to their advantage. Construction is still a very buoyant industry with a lot of exciting opportunities for employees.  Ireland offers a great career path for Construction professionals with established companies.

For information on opportunities in the Construction industry, or indeed if you are a company with a vacancy to fill, we would encourage you to contact Arcon’s Senior Construction Recruitment Consultant, Thomas White.  Thomas is an expert in the field of Construction Recruitment and would be delighted to chat.

Thomas White Senior Construction Recruitment Consultant at Arcon recruitment

Thomas White

Senior Construction Recruitment Consultant

Thomas joined the Arcon team in January 2020, heading up the Construction and Engineering division. Thomas brings a wealth of experience with him having worked for a number of years in recruitment- both in an agency and within an in-house environment. Originally from Sligo, Thomas is now living and settled in Westport.