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Construction Recruitment Trends

Having worked in Construction Recruitment since 2012 I have experienced the recovery within the industry, the change from an employer to an employee’s market, the increase in salaries, activity and the overall growth of the sector.

The progressive growth doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon which for everyone in the industry is great news but with it brings certain challenges. The lack of construction professionals, shortage of supply, difficulties holding onto key staff is a recurring conversation I have with senior management.

The overall volume of construction output increased by 12.5 per cent in 2016 to around €15billion with growth of 8.5 per cent in 2017 and 7.1 per cent for 2018. The volume of construction output by 2020 is forecast to reach €20.2 billion.

Tackling the Talent Demand

A big challenge for the construction industry currently and going forward is staffing, with some complex projects due to commence in 2018 skilled experienced professionals are going to be required in huge numbers. Immigration and the reduction in skilled construction graduates has left the available talent pool depleted. This has led to massive requirement not only at the senior level but right down the junior graduate. There is a big demand across all professions but especially for Quantity Surveyors, Engineers, Site Managers, Project and Contract Managers. We have seen a big increase in applications from New Zealand, Australia, UK and the UAE which is a positive step forward for the industry.

Incentives

Salaries and packages have continued to increase in 2017 and will continue to climb in 2018. The basic salary may not have increased dramatically but the overall package companies are offering has increased. The typical package for a Senior now includes a company car or car allowance, fuel card, tolls, pension, healthcare, professional fees and bonus. It is quite simple with the huge demand and shortage of supply the salaries are going to increase again in 2018. Over the next 12 months I predict salaries to increase in the region of 10%. The trend over the last number of years has been a year on year increase in salaries which doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. For example, in 2011 a Senior QS salary dropped to €50k but in 2017 it was up to €80k 60% increase in 6 years.

Salaries and packages outside of the greater Dublin area are significantly lower. There has been an increase in activity outside of Dublin in 2017 with some large projects being undertaken in the midlands, Galway, Limerick, Cork and Waterford but nowhere near at the levels required to guarantee long term employment prospects. Currently it is a project to project basis outside of Dublin. With the pipeline of work in Dublin companies can assure employees long term career opportunities.

Brexit has led to an increase in the number of construction professionals moving back to Ireland. The drop in the value of sterling is a big factor, the exchange rate two years ago was too great that it made no financial sense for someone to make the move back. This has levelled out to an extent which makes it more appealing to move back.

The re-emergence of the residential sector is another factor that will lead to an increase in salaries and demand. A lot of very experienced residential experts emigrated in 08/09 but now with the huge demand for housing and developers gearing up for 2018 it could be the right time to make the move back.

Azon is striving to combat the shortage of skilled professionals by using the company’s international network along with targeted marketing and advertisement campaigns, vast database of candidates and clients not just in Ireland but internationally, industry knowledge and expertise.

In summary the construction industry is continuing to grow, salaries and packages are increasing, job security has improved with further opportunities to progress. There is challenges ahead but 2018 will be a positive year for construction.

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Stephen Hoban | Head of Construction | Azon Recruitment GroupStephen Hoban is Azon’s Head of Construction.
Get in touch with him directly now via shoban@azon.ie

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