Flexible Working - Part of the Solution to the Skills Shortage

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Flexible Working - Part of the Solution to the Skills Shortage

David Brunton

Every day at Contract Scotland we deal with many different scenarios that go beyond working hard to find someone their ideal job or working closely with a client to identify the right candidates. I find myself having more and more conversations with candidates that focus on a better work-life balance; something we haven't heard much of over the last few years.

I’ll set the scene before I make my point (hopefully you'll keep reading).

Earlier this year I assisted an applicant seeking a role that would accommodate career progression and a better work-life balance. With a young family to go home to (and with homework to help with), this was key to his tailored recruitment plan. During the process of successfully finding his new employment with an excellent employer, he referred his wife to Contract Scotland. He could see how our tailored approach to recruitment, career advice, and guidance would benefit her and flexible working hours were a must to accommodate their childcare commitments. Her previous role came to an end due to a strategic restructuring of the business, and she had only recently returned from maternity leave.

We worked closely with her to discuss her motivations and created a bespoke recruitment plan. We took the time to meet with her, ran through her needs from us as a recruitment partner and from any prospective employer. Once we identified her needs, we started approaching clients, representing her accurately.

By going through the recruitment plan, we identified respected, local construction companies where she could kick start her career once more. We spoke to those clients in detail about her background, leading to an interview and a new role within the Scottish construction industry.

Said position offered:

A. Flexible working to accommodate childcare

B. Work locally to her home

C. Secure employment back in a Quantity Surveying role.

I know what you are thinking, "flexible" is not a word that you often hear used in construction, and that takes me to my point (finally).

It’s no secret that our industry is affected by a skills shortage and we need graduates and qualified professionals to continue working within our industry. Flexible working isn’t the full answer, but it’s an important piece of the puzzle that has seen many talented and qualified professionals join other sectors out with construction.

If I’m honest, our industry can lag behind others when it comes to offering flexible working, and this is where we can lose out. In her employer's case, they saw a great candidate and had no issue providing flexible working to secure the candidate they wanted. If we are to continue attracting future generations to the construction industry, we need to keep moving with the times and other thriving industries that can offer flexible working to attract talent. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that everyone can work from home, work four hours a day and get paid for eight; I wish!

The demands of site and our industry, in general, are ever increasing, so perhaps we can attract the candidates to help ease this pressure by listening to what attracts them to other sectors, and I bet in some instances, not every, flexible working is a consideration!

I am pleased to say that both are now happy in their respective new roles (I received a lovely email last Friday thanking me for my help). Their desire for a great work-life balance and productive careers within the construction industry now met.

Here at Contract Scotland, we have a strong family-based culture; everyone pulls together to achieve our goals. Our success in the market is down to two things: taking the time to get to know people and building trust. That is why my colleagues and I love working here; after all, family matters!

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