Property and construction: young talent wanted

During the economic downturn, the property and construction industry was hit hard as housebuilding and major developments were either stalled or scrapped entirely. During the period 2008-2011 many property and construction professionals were made redundant or simply chose to leave the industry in order to pursue other careers. From data collected by the Office for National Statistics, in December 2008 the construction workforce was recorded as 2.37m which dropped to a low of just 2.04m in June 2013. In December 2016, the workforce was just over 2.24m, still 128,000 less than pre-recession figures, which in an industry expecting an output increase of 1.7% over the next five years is concerning.
The gap in skilled professionals is a result of the decrease in graduate and apprenticeship programmes during this time. The number of placements available to new graduates were few and far between, so many were simply unable to find employment within their chosen sector. It is because of this that the property and construction workforce has failed to completely bounce back after the 2013 low and is now facing a significant skills shortage.
On a more positive note, many companies are taking advantage of the newly government funded Apprenticeship Levy and are re-establishing their graduate and apprenticeship schemes. While this doesn’t solve the immediate shorter-term issues it is certainly a positive step towards developing home-grown talent in the UK. 
Well-known names across property and construction are involved in various initiatives to encourage graduates and non-graduates to consider construction as a career option. Contractors such as Wates have developed their Building Futures programme that encourages people to join the industry through a two week training scheme where successful participants receive a Construction Skills Certificate Scheme card. Michael Page have been involved in assisting with this programme by running CV and interview workshops, which has seen many of those involved progress into further training and employment. The skills, advice and information that participants receive on this course helps individuals to get their foot on the career ladder within the construction industry. 
Graduate Surveyors is another organisation who actively engage and support property graduates, whether that be through advice-focused articles, counselling sessions or career advice. Shyam Visavadia MRICS MAPM, founder of Graduate Surveyors says that “despite fears of the implications of Brexit, the market hasn’t shown any signs of a slowdown in the recruitment of graduates”. Visavadia advised that “Some employers have scrapped the 2:1 degree designation as a mandatory requirement, which has opened doors to a larger talent pool. Most firms now consider accepting non-cognate candidates into their structured training programmes, which has increased competition amongst candidates.” In addition to this he says that some larger organisations are now trying to appeal to millennials through use of corporate social responsibility and diversity programmes in the hope to better attract and retain candidates. “It is very much an employee’s market, as such employers are required to understand the needs and wants of the millennial generation in order to meet the growing demands of clients and wider industry.”
Salaries within the property and construction industry are on the rise as demand for skilled professionals far outweighs the current number of candidates in the market.
Taking all factors into consideration, investment into training and development plus the salary increases across the board post-recession, the property and construction industries are both expanding sectors full of opportunities to build a long-lasting and rewarding career. Jobs are broad and can cover aspects of, or the entirety of the property lifecycle including site finding, planning and design, onsite build and project management to ongoing asset management and long-term maintenance. There are many professional institutions operating within the industry such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), The Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (CICES) who are able to give guidance and information about their specific industries, and potential opportunities within them. 
For more information or to explore your career options within the property and construction industries, please get in touch today. 
Roberta Barlow
Operating Director
T: +44 115 934 8686