Biggest Isn’t Always Best; How Small Businesses Are Succeeding in the Scottish Construction Market

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Biggest Isn’t Always Best; How Small Businesses Are Succeeding in the Scottish Construction Market

Jamie Porter

At Contract Scotland we work with a wide range of businesses; from large multi-national engineering firms on major projects through to specialist contractors on regional frameworks. It is all enjoyable work, throwing up fresh challenges every day. However, some of the most rewarding work we do is in assisting small businesses to grow.

Whilst there have been fewer major projects start in 2018 compared to recent years, there remains strong investment in the residential and property markets; not just in high volume housing developments, but also smaller scale refurbishments and renovations.

With so many lower value projects proceeding, the market is full of opportunities for smaller construction & engineering businesses to grow. However, those opportunities can be missed without the right staff in place. In a jobs market where there is already a shortage of skills, the absence of large HR or marketing departments means it difficult for small businesses to broadcast who they are and what they can offer. By working in close partnership with Contract Scotland, we have been able to amplify their voice, highlighting the benefits they can offer to job seekers.

So what are those benefits you may ask?

  • A far greater sense of autonomy and freedom. This requires a high degree of adaptability from the employee too so it may not be for everyone but for those who feel stifled by procedure and bureaucracy, it can be a welcome change.
  • Career advancement/recognition. Within a small business, you’ll likely be working closely with the owners/directors and your contribution will be far more visible. Clearly, small businesses don’t hold a monopoly on staff recognition/reward but it’s no coincidence that those who do make it a priority are able to attract and retain the best staff.
  • Flexible working – in smaller teams, it is far easier to operate a trust-based flexible working system which allows staff to decide upon their own work patterns in tandem with the needs of the business.
  • Variety of workload/duties. Projects tend to be of a more manageable scale. Small businesses often require staff to be involved in every aspect of their delivery resulting in a greater range of duties and responsibilities. Additionally, you may find that the project themselves vary greatly meaning that no 2 days are the same.
  • Job security – the common perception is that working with a smaller business carries greater risk to job security. The truth is that market forces can pose problems for even the largest businesses. With small, privately owned business you will actually find a high degree of commitment to staff and with smaller, more adaptable teams, small businesses can often operate more nimbly, responding quickly to changes in the market if they occur.

Over the course of the past few years, we’ve worked with an increasing number of small engineering consultancies and construction firms, helping them secure some of the best talent available in the Scottish market. They have in turn been able to enhance the offering made to their clients and take advantage of more of the opportunities available to them. So in this very tangible way, we’ve been able to contribute to the further success and growth of these businesses.

There really are no barriers to who we can work with. We have worked with Owner/Directors who have built their businesses from scratch. So if you are a construction or engineering business whose only barrier to growth is attracting the right staff we’d be happy to hear from you. Yes, there is a fee associated with the service we provide but ultimately you pay nothing until the new member of staff starts with you. Ultimately it is an investment that we’ve seen pay off time & time again for our regular clients.

Likewise, if you are a construction or engineering professional considering the next step in your career and curious to know more about what a smaller business can offer, then please get in touch for a confidential chat.

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