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Our Construction Boom – A Recruiter’s View

Beyond Blogs Our Construction Boom Fb Li

We have been inundated with news articles, LinkedIn posts and office chatter about our construction industry, particularly in the last few years as housing demand increases across the country and industry tries to keep up.

Developers are continuing with the large scale purchase of lots of land; consents being issued are still on the rise (residential and non-residential statistics can be found here)  and architects are consistently being engaged to design anything from small to colossal commercial projects; small house additions through to large scale apartment dwellings and master planning new communities.

An example of this is the Drury East development known as “Auranga” planned for South of Auckland. A large scale, multi-density residential and retail development requiring input from a myriad of industries to develop and build. This 2500 residence community is valued at $2 billion plus and will have an entirely new town centre.

And it’s not the only one!

Where Do We Source Our Information?

We sit in a privileged position as specialist recruiters within the Construction and Architecture industries, as not only can we read the articles and watch the news as you can, but we are talking with clients and candidates daily. Within our process of scheduled daily meetings, we are entrusted with many stories and updates pertaining to the construction industry.

A lot of what we are told is confidential for a certain period of time, so this article is unlikely to tell you anything you don’t either already know, or can’t source through Google. However, the information that we’re given enables us to be aware of changes in the industry early on, and predict how it might impact labour demands.

So, What Can We Tell You About What We Are Seeing in Recruitment?

It has been an interesting start to 2018.  Following a booming 2016/17, things certainly slowed around election time last year, and the uptake through January was going at what felt like a snail’s pace. Wondering what this might mean to both our clients and skilled candidates searching for new opportunities, we have been reassured through February as we have seen a definite increase in the number of vacancies flowing in, albeit a little slower than last year.

In Architecture, clients are winning projects left, right, and centre, with the industries leading the way being focused on medium and high-density residential projects, which is not unexpected, along with retail and education. There are also large prison projects underway and exciting hotel developments to cope with our ever-increasing influx of tourists.

This is all a continuation on last year, however the big change is contained within who is winning the business. Opportunities are aplenty with some architectural businesses remaining stagnant and others continuing to grow, particularly those of a small to medium scale.

In Construction, things are certainly not as busy as they have been for the past few years with several large scale commercial projects being placed on hold as we are seeing the media report.  Hiring of new construction staff is patchy compared to the past few years with the busiest areas being social housing, group home and volume building and commercial retail.

What a Lot of You Want to Know - Where is the Current Demand?

During the 2016/17 period, we saw a lot of candidates grab at the opportunity to not only take a giant leap in career advancement, but also enjoy salary increases. This has certainly settled this financial year, as we observe clients making carefully considered choices during the job brief creation, interview and hiring processes. We have noticed a steep fall in urgent hiring to fill gaps, with clients instead taking the time to step through a planned process and insisting on a blend of:

  • Talent diversity
  • Job longevity and stability in candidate CVs
  • Exceptional work ethic evidenced in thorough verbal reference checking with previous managers
  • Realistic and fair salary expectations
  • An attitude of ‘what you can bring to their business’

There has been a definite tightening in criteria for construction candidates sought with top of the list being:

  • NZ experience
  • Energetic and committed
  • Invested in the company and projects long term

In both Construction and Architecture, candidates are placing more emphasis on a good culture fit, often seeking employers who focus on the wellbeing of their staff, have good structures and systems in place, and well-planned career development on offer. Another ongoing hot topic and request is employers who allow for flexible working conditions and hours to allow for increasing traffic flows and to ensure work life balance is maintained.

In Summary

What we are seeing in the media coupled with what we are hearing in the market indicates carefully controlled growth in companies so far this year.

The market is still busy, particularly in Auckland with the most significant project growth being seen in the residential sector, followed closely by commercial retail.

Both clients and candidates alike are fine tuning their search criteria and with a high number of vacancies steadily coming through, we are seeing evidence that we are in for what will be another busy, yet more manageable year. If you’re interested in the exciting new Architecture and Construction job opportunities that 2018 has to offer, feel free to get in touch.

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