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Increased activity fuels upturn in Scotland’s construction job market

27th August 2014

Construction and Property

- But, low investment over past few years could lead to challenges in filling newly qualified positions.

Growing confidence among Scotland’s construction employers is leading to an upturn in demand for both permanent and temporary positions for construction related jobs, according to talent solutions company, Hudson.  However, challenges remain as a reduced graduate intake during the economic downturn leaves a depleted talent pool.

In the first six months of 2014, Hudson’s specialist construction and property division has seen a 20 per cent increase in the number of positions they have been asked to source candidates for, compared to the same period last year.  

Iain Atkinson, associate director within Hudson’s construction and property team in Scotland, said:

Following a challenging number of years in the construction and property industry, we are seeing positive indications of an upturn in the demand for jobs.  This was apparent during the second half of 2013 and has become even more prevalent throughout the first six months of 2014.  

“This has been driven by investment within the housing sector throughout Scotland, with both social and private residential development showing signs of growth throughout the year, as well as key public spending initiatives delivered through the Scottish Futures Trust Hub Model. Investment in major Scottish civil engineering projects, such as the Forth Replacement Crossing work, the M8 Project and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral route, has also boosted recruitment opportunities in the construction sector. 
“As a result, we have moved from a situation where companies have focused on cost cutting and scaling back their resources, to one where increased activity is building confidence and fuelling recruitment.” 

New vacancies range across both permanent and temporary recruitment with quantity surveyors, newly qualified surveyors and chartered engineers being particularly sought after. 

However, with firms vying for candidates from talent pools depleted by the economic downturn, employers could find it challenging to bring in the right people to their organisations.  

Iain Atkinson said: “There are certainly skills shortages now in the market.  Quantity Surveyors are in strong demand and newly qualified staff of all disciplines including surveying and engineering, are still in short supply.  In part this is due to companies cutting their graduate investment during the downturn and as a result the people you would expect to now be Chartered or 1-2 years post Chartership, have simply not come through the system.”

According to Hudson, the outlook for the sector is becoming more positive and as a result, securing the right talent for vacancies will see new recruitment and retention strategies come to the fore.

Iain Atkinson said: “There is continuing investment in the construction sector across Scotland and as result, headcounts will have to increase. This means employers will need to revaluate their current retention strategies - salaries alone are no longer the be all and end all, with factors such as career progression becoming critical decision factors.  Employers will need to act quickly if they are to secure the right talent for their organisation.”

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