"Increasing demand for private housing developments with improving market conditions. Major projects already approved for Perth and Fife for this year and next year. A slowdown in the Aberdeen market mostly caused by the knock-on impact of the oil and gas industry will continue to affect the Northeast. However, there is a renewed focus on housing developments in the north-west due to improved/improving infrastructure in the area including the dualling of the A9 and the new runway for Inverness Airport all due to be delivered in the next few years.
Due to the difference in population density in the north-west of Scotland companies will need to consider the impact this may have on their ability to staff projects efficiently in these areas. What incentives can be offered to encourage operational staff to work away from home? Can local communities be engaged at this early stage to recruit and train new employees from within the existing area?
Commercial staff are highly in demand in this sector with many companies looking at taking on Assistants and Senior QSs as well as opportunities up to Commercial Manager and Director level. More clients are flexible regarding experience and level for Commercial Requirements, acknowledging the skills gap and taking advantage of transferable skills from other sectors of the industry.
Continued growth in the private housing sector across Scotland. Increasing salaries as competition for the best staff increases. A focus away from traditional population centres with a large number of projects due to kick off in Perth, Fife and the Highlands.
We're noticing a rise in smaller local housebuilders to the marketplace as a result of a thriving industry to help meet demand. However, the major PLC housebuilders are the ones to watch where the uncertainty of the political climate following Brexit is having an unsettling effect on staff planning."
“We’ve seen a definite shift away from refurbishment projects, including EWI, with more of a move towards new build projects by all of the main social housing contractors. Due to the ongoing commitment by the Scottish Government to provide 50,000 new social and affordable housing units, the new build contractors are particularly busy.
There’s a high demand for mid-management professionals with social housing and/or main contracting skills, meaning clients should address their selection processes. The primary challenge is sourcing candidates with the right level of experience to deliver the large volume of projects. Many clients need quantity surveyors and estimators with around 3 to 5 years’ experience, within their salary budgets.”
How you can address these challenges
“For commercial candidates, make sure your company is in a position to offer appropriate training programmes for existing staff and consider whether you’re able to take on candidates at a junior level who can study while working. If these options aren’t viable for you, what packages or additional benefits can be offered to ensure you can secure the right senior staff for your business? Also, what are you doing to retain your commercial staff, given the high demand and increasing salaries available?
Train your junior staff. With high demand for quantity surveyors and estimators at an intermediate level, make sure you have KPIs or measures in place to take on further responsibility. Show that progression is available upon achievement.
Ask yourself whether you’re rewarding talented staff appropriately. Are you meeting their motivators and addressing issues to ensure you keep good people with you? Look past the technical skill to consider attitude and transferable skills; i.e. those with EWI experience who can bring value to your firm. For operational candidates, perhaps consider candidates from a refurb and EWI
For operational candidates, maybe consider candidates from a refurb and EWI background. Candidates in this area already hold SMSTS, CSCS and First Aid qualifications, as well as having experience of managing multi trades. They’re used to dealing with tenants and housing associations/local authorities, and many come from trade backgrounds and are keen to move into the new build housing industry. With increasing demand for new build housing and a move away from refurb, now is a great time to train up your refurb staff to deliver your next new build projects. Again staff retention will be vital to ensure staff aren’t just trained up and moving on immediately. What can you offer above and beyond salary? What do your employees care about – flexible working, rewards, bonuses, training, events?
We’d be happy to advise you on any of these routes, and suggest approaches that may be appropriate for your company’s particular situation. Just get in touch."
“There’ll always be a higher demand for permanent recruitment in the housing sector. However, there’s still a stable market for freelance staff too, particularly between the months of April to late October when there are holiday cover requirements and demands to complete housing developments.
Our robust vetting procedures mean we can offer you suitable candidates in this sector – so much so that 45% of people we had working in freelance roles last year are now in permanent employment.
This sector has always experienced the highest number of temporary to permanent placements, and it can usually begin as a great starting point for trying someone on a trial basis before offering them a permanent contract.”
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