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Paying the Price for Under Investing

23 September 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970

Peace Recruitment, an Edinburgh based recruitment consultancy focused on the construction, property and engineering sectors, has warned employers that skilled construction and engineering workers are now the most sought after in the UK.

The result is a skills shortage in these sectors meaning demand for both permanent and temporary workers is at a record high; a situation that has been pointed out by a number of trade associations in the sectors involved.

Peace points the finger of blame directly at companies that have failed to invest in graduates during the recession and is urging them to rethink their recruitment process now so this problem does not persist in the future.

The latest statistics published by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that in July 2015 over two fifths of recruiters reported a fall in the number of people looking for work, the steepest decline seen in eight months. In particular, the construction industry is struggling to keep pace with demand and businesses have resorted to recruiting heavily both permanent and temporary workers. In turn, this is causing significant pay rises in the sector of almost 5%.

Engineering employees were the most sought-after type of permanent staff in July, closely followed by Construction workers. Construction led the way in the temporary market, followed by nursing/medical/care in second and engineering third.

“We are finding that clients seem to all be looking for staff at a similar level which is usually in the 30,000-40,000 salary band,” explained Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment. “Generally speaking, someone at this salary level now might have been graduating around 2008/2009. Graduate recruitment was almost non-existent during this time, hence the supply and demand issue now. We are advising clients to consider investing in graduates now, upskill existing staff members or bring in more experienced industry professionals.”

Peace conceded that pay increases can be “good news” for potential future employees but it also created difficulties for organisations trying to keep existing employees happy.

The problem seems to be that current employees of many organisations have often not been rewarded financially for their loyalty to the company through the difficult times. When they find out new employees are being brought in on higher wages it has created unhappiness and dissatisfaction. This can result with existing staff looking for other job offers to pressurise their current employer into offering them a pay rise or ‘a counter offer’ to get them to stay. “Our current estimate is this is happening 15% of the time, costing recruiters and employers a lot of time and money,” stated Mr Peace.

Picture: The skills shortage in construction and engineering is coming back to bite businesses according to Peace Recruitment

Article written by Robin Snow | Published 23 September 2015


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