Subbie Spotlight #2 – Why We Fear Subbies and What They Can Offer

As I’m currently recruiting for positions with a very successful subcontractor, I’m once again reminded of how frustrating it can be to start a conversation with people about working for a subcontractor.

There must be some basis for this; why do we shy away from these conversations?

Is it money? In many cases, people would think that subcontractors aren’t paid the same level of salary for certain disciplines. Is it a fear of inadequacy in payment compared to friends and colleagues in big national organisations?

Well, that reality is quickly changing. Especially for subcontractors servicing multi-million-pound packages on even larger projects with national main contractors.

While average salaries in subcontracting are skewed by some smaller or niche subcontractors who don’t need to compete for the same talent pool, most other subcontractors have expressed and demonstrated that they will pay what they need to secure the right talent.

See this excerpt from our 2018 Salary Review. It’s clear that subcontractors are already awakening to this reality, as the most in-demand disciplines are seeing steady increases in average salaries. 2018 has seen this trend continue and there is a willingness to offer closer to main contracting salary levels.

For more information on salary levels in subcontracting;ᅠclick here to request a free copy of our Annual Salary Review

The other common objections I hear are that subcontracting has a lack of stability, clear progression opportunities, mentors, exciting projects, extra benefits, rewards, or “Work-life balance”. To be blunt, these are no longer concerns when it comes to subcontracting.

Here’s what I’ve learned about these concerns:

  • Experience has shown that bigger companies are not immune from going bust.
  • Smaller teams can offer quicker progression with more hands-on mentorship.
  • SME’s have the flexibility to reward when they feel it’s deserved.
  • They can create more flexible working environments without upsetting a larger structure.
  • Subcontractors work on all the same big jobs that Main Contractors win.

Nothing more needs to be said to convince anyone, in fact, that’s not my goal at this point. On a weekly basis, Consultants at Contract Scotland take time to visit these workplaces to get to know their people and how they work. We appreciate not every environment will suit everyone, but I often remind people that there’s no harm in having a conversation. Companies that are this successful shouldn’t be so quickly overlooked when considering a career move.

We have live jobs that are worth speaking about if you’re keen to know more about what these kinds of organisations can offer. Among others, there’s a requirement for two Quantity Surveyors to join a very successful subcontracting organisation; click here for more info.

In the future, I’ll be covering what organisations need to be doing better to publicise these benefits to attract talent. I’ll also be speaking to some construction professionals who have transitioned between main contractor and subcontractor to get their honest opinions of pros and cons for both.

Posted by Contract Scotland
14th August, 2018