Building a positive year ahead for jobs in the construction industry

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Kerry Burley of ARC
Kerry Burley of ARC

When the pandemic brought the world to a standstill, the construction industry was one of the few sectors that kept moving. But what does the future hold for jobs in the construction? ARC Construction Divisional Manager, Kerry Burley gives predictions on jobs in the construction sector.

Back in June 2020, Boris Johnson told the construction industry to prepare to ‘Build, Build, Build’. It was a welcomed message for many in the construction sector during the early days of what was a turbulent year. However, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), job vacancies in the construction industry returned to pre-pandemic levels in the last quarter of 2020.

But how does 2021 look like it’s shaping up in the construction sector? Are there jobs still out there? What trades are most sought after at the moment? Is it even safe being on-site during a pandemic? Is construction going to boom or bust this year?

Whilst no one has a crystal ball and can accurately predict what 2021 will pan out like, here’s our take from what we’ve seen over the past 12 months and are currently seeing as a recruitment agency.

Stamp Duty Holiday has been a saviour

The government’s initiative of halting the stamp duty for houses under £500,000 has played a significant part in keeping many sites going and keeping people in jobs. In fact, we’ve seen an increased demand for labourers and bricklayers as housing developers push to build houses as quickly as possible in order to get people in before the tax break ends.

It will be interesting to see if the government extends the stamp duty incentive, as it is due to finish in April. There have already been calls by official bodies to extend this and we too would welcome this. From what we’ve seen, it has been a crucial lifeline for the industry and has really helped keep people in work.

If the government extends the incentive, we think the next 6-12 months could be some of the busiest ever for our construction recruitment division as housebuilders and developers will continue to want to reap the rewards of the incentive.

Alongside the boom in residential projects, we’ve also noticed an increase in building takeaways and drive-throughs. Unsurprisingly, shop fitouts have currently dropped off the radar as the ‘new norm’ evolves around more online consumer activity than bricks and mortar.

But ultimately, there is still a demand for workers and this is great news for those within the industry.

Candidates diversifying from other sectors into construction

As a recruitment agency, we see the personable side of the construction industry. As a direct result of other sectors suffering at the hands of Covid, applicants are diversifying and coming into construction from other areas such as hospitality.

It’s great to see people are wanting to join the construction industry but it is still vital that we see skilled tradespeople on site and especially, the next generation who will learn their craft. At the moment we are seeing a shortage of groundworkers and bricklayers. They aren’t necessarily jobs that young people coming out of school would think about, but they are crucial roles within the industry and the jobs are out there!

We have been busy helping candidates get their CSCS cards and helping people achieve the necessary requirements needed to attend site.

Safety still at the forefront

Safety remains a priority for everyone. Whilst we’ve noticed some candidates have been initially nervous about being on site during the pandemic, many have reported back that they have been impressed with the level of additional health and safety that sites are going to to protect workers.

We’ve even seen an increase in the demand for on-site cleaners, who are tasked specifically with keeping communal areas for tradespeople as clean and sanitised as possible.

The year ahead

Jobs are out there in the construction industry and we believe that whilst the government are supporting schemes like the Stamp Duty holiday, the industry will continue to boom. From bricklayers to groundworkers, electricians to site managers, the ARC team are here to support keeping people in work. 

Whether you’re a candidate or client, speak to a member of the ARC construction team to see how they can support you by calling us on 01473 528111 or email kerry.burley@arcgroup.co.uk

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