Construction Recruitment on the up in the ‘New Normal’ era

Since the UK lockdown has begun to ease the construction sector has been firing on all cylinders to get the economy back on track. 

Projects across the industry have not only seen the green light, but new government proposals are being put forward to give construction companies the added boost they need in the post-lockdown ‘new normal’.

At Marshall recruitment, we’ve been in conversation with a number of large and small construction companies to support them with finding new recruits now that work is signed off and back in action.

The early rise of the construction sector has been shown clearly from the latest data revealed by the Office of National Statistics, as the proportion of construction staff on furlough has now dropped since the second half of June. 

In April 2020, furloughed construction workers peaked at 40%, but this has since been on a gradual decline with now only 21% of construction works claiming furlough. 

As construction companies get back to business, it will be a welcome relief to hear that the opportunity for growth is set to increase across the UK. 

A Political Boost for SME Construction Companies 

The first wave of good news for those in the construction sector is the amount of support being pushed by the UK government. 

Politicians have called for planning reforms to support smaller housebuilders, including investing in local authority planning capabilities. 

In a new report by a parliamentary group for SME housebuilders, it has been outlined that the UK government should consider a legal duty for local authorities to tackle housing shortages, a more consistent application of planning policy and a proportion of housebuilding sites to be set aside for smaller builders. 

These new proposals for SME housebuilders will also run alongside Boris Johnson’s recent claims that he wishes to introduce “radical reforms of our planning system”. 

Set to be actioned in September 2020, Johnson has pushed through a series of changes to permitted development regulations. The policies will ease the process of demolishing or converting existing buildings to provide housing.

Localised Regeneration 

While the UK construction sector almost came to a complete standstill during the outbreak of coronavirus, now that lockdowns are more localised, many projects have had the go-ahead. 

In fact, some projects continued regardless, with strict health and safety measures in place. 

Office workers now returning to Manchester city centre will see that a number of buildings have been completed in their absence. Including Manchester Metropolitan University Arts & Humanities Building, and Worthington’s 125 Deansgate new office building. 

In London, developers are now in action to launch west London towers, a two-phase build project that will run alongside the District and Piccadilly tube lines. The first phase will be a 25 storey block of 195 homes and 520sqm of commercial space. 

Across Cambridgeshire building recruitment picks up the pace more projects are getting swiftly moved forward, with the latest being Abstract Securities plans to build around 300,000 sqft of offices, and Santander’s £188.3 million Milton Keynes Campus set to begin in the coming months.

Building Up

A trend also on the up is high-rise construction projects which have continued to see investment despite the initial setbacks of 9/11. 

Projects relating high-rise buildings saw a quick downturn in 2001 after the September 11 attacks, but recent reports reveal that high-rise projects are now growing in popularity once again. 

Steve Kennard, director of regeneration at Hadley Group, has said, “ 9/11 demonstrates just how foolish it can be to make a long-term judgement based on a single event, no matter how prominent or traumatic.” 

The level of demand for high-rise buildings is growing, especially from overseas investors who are now purchasing in the UK market. 

With so much moving forward in the construction sector, there is no doubt we will see an increase in the talent required to help these projects meet deadlines. 

The upturn of the construction sector has arrived, we are seeing our new Building Recruitment Office in Suffolk getting more calls every week and we are confident there are going to be some positive months ahead.