Hiring in Construction, Infrastructure and Utilities – lessons from 2021

Construction hiring Ellis Fox Blog

One of the trends emerging from 2021 has been the great resignation. This hasn’t been unique to construction or even the UK, it’s been taking place globally. Businesses have been challenged by the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, managing teams working from home and trying to navigate their ways around a hybrid working model.

From an employee perspective, priorities have changed and that is having an impact on what they’re looking for in their careers and employers. Flexibility, autonomy, opportunities to work with new technologies and on headline projects are all major drawcards. Plus people appear to be more open to opportunities. The increased demand for specific skills has given professionals the confidence to expand their options and consider new roles. While there may still be a shortage of candidates, this is increasing the quality of candidates in the recruiting pool.

There’s been a moderate improvement in diversity within the construction industry and a concerted effort to attract and hire more women. Showcasing senior female construction professionals in discussion panels and conferences is supporting diversity efforts. There’s still a long way to go in construction before gender pay gaps are fully addressed, but at least it is good to see some progress in this direction.

Requirements for better management of environmental issues, emissions and waste are creating opportunities for new skills to be developed or imported into the industry. This has also provided a unique way to increase diversity in construction, as many professionals with environmental expertise are women or from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Quite significantly, the demand for skills has shifted the balance of power from employers to employees and companies are having to work harder to attract and retain top professionals. In a way this is good as it’s forcing companies to reconsider their company culture and working environment and make it a more supportive. Employees are looking for companies to support their career progression ambitions and provide opportunities for learning and to develop new skills.

The industry will need to continue to work hard to develop the skills needed, especially as demand for infrastructure and construction continues to grow. At Ellis Fox it’s been a busy year and we’re incredibly grateful to be able to work with so many high caliber candidates and companies within the industry. If you’re celebrating it, we’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope that it’ll be a happy holiday.