In 2019, job roles in the UK construction industry represented 6.6% of total employment throughout the country, with more jobs available in the sector than at any time since 2007 – but home builders are struggling to recruit the right people for their roles.

In this special blog, our directors Ally Robin and Nick McVeigh-Crabbe explore the different factors contributing to this recruitment challenge and what can be done to tackle them.

A significant skills gap

From a trades and labour perspective, while there is high demand for these roles to be filled, this is offset by a significant skills shortage. Jobs in the home building sector can be quite repetitive and lack the appeal of interesting commercial or community projects, so this can put some contractors off. There is also a lack of candidates who possess specialised skills, such as bricklaying – many of those qualifying today are only gaining experience in the most common areas of work, so aren’t versatile enough.

Management roles in construction can also go unfilled for lengthy periods of time, with companies struggling to find candidates who understand their brand and possess the relevant experience to bring the project forward. This is possibly down to the skills gap in trades positions – companies are reluctant to take people off their tools until the last minute as they want to retain trusted, experienced craftsmen, so people struggle to gain experience. Also, every homebuilding developer delivers such a different product, so it’s definitely not a case of one-experience-fits-all.

The search for great property salespeople

Of course, salespeople are also vital to the home building sector. Finding that perfect blend of suitable experience and attitude is key, but it can be difficult – that’s where specialist recruitment services like STAR come in. We have helped our clients appoint experienced temporary and permanent staff from within the industry, but we have also represented great people from outside the home building sector in order to bring a fresh approach and new energy to property sales.

There are now more demands within these roles than ever before, so the calibre of the sales advisor needs to be high – an ideal adviser is professional, proactive, shows initiative and is focused on exceeding targets. Not everyone is suited to new home sales, so finding the right person for the right development takes patience and knowledge.

Rising demands 

There is still a strong demand for new homes to be built, but it varies greatly from region to region. For example, Edinburgh has been riding high with property prices in recent years, but Dundee and Glasgow are now catching up with the capital.

Such variables across the country create uncertainty within the market, which combined with political turmoil has impacted recruitment in the homebuilding sector. We are having to work harder than ever before to find experienced home building professionals and attract new people to the industry.

On the construction front, the issue of quality has been a huge focus for the sector. Buyers are more switched on than ever, so there is no place for low quality or substandard work in this industry.

Taking the traditional route

In addition to professional recruitment services, lots of home builders still stick to more traditional ways of finding staff. We often see job advertisements for staff outside construction sites – it’s an old-school method of recruitment, but from feedback from our clients we know it works for them.

Many companies have fantastic links to colleges, universities, schools and more, but these methods are not necessarily solving the short-term recruitment issues and easing the burden on the industry. A more comprehensive system of skills development within the industry is needed to attract fresh blood and new talent into the home building sector and encourage continuous professional development.

How we help 

We make it as easy as possible for our clients to find the best quality candidates for their role. We provide industry knowledge and connections that are unparalleled in the home building industry, particularly when it comes to sales roles. We are fortunate to have a fantastic network of home builders who rely on our hard work and honesty to find them the best candidates.

Our network is absolutely key – it enables us to get the word out about opportunities, so the right people hear about them. Our close relationships with so many different people in a diverse pool of companies usually allow us to get information and references from trusted sources to ensure candidates are perfectly suited to the needs of the companies we assist.

Navigating recruitment difficulties  

But it’s not all plain sailing for us when recruiting candidates for the home building sector.

The construction and home building markets can be volatile when the market is unstable, but the whole recruitment industry is also going through a period of change. With the rise of online recruitment websites, you could feasibly log onto a website and apply for several different jobs in a mere few minutes.

While this can be great for exploring options, we’re concerned that a transitory recruitment market establishes a weak sense of loyalty to an employer. It is so easy to apply for jobs these days.

A transient working culture also creates problems with the reliability of candidates in some roles – because they don’t feel fully committed to a job, it matters less to them if they simply decide to not turn up to work one day.

We invest a huge amount of time and money into filtering out the very best, experienced people who we can put our faith in to deliver quality results for our clients.

If you’re looking to find the perfect candidates for your next home building development, please get in touch– we’d love to help you build your team.