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How can you attract building services talent in 2019?




Despite the uncertainty posed by ongoing Brexit negotiations, according to our latest Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 report, 80% of building services employers are looking to recruit over the coming year. Over half (58%) are looking to hire permanent staff, while 39% are looking for temporary and contract staff.

However, skills shortages remain a real issue in building services, with three quarters of employers saying they have found it difficult to recruit permanent staff over the last year. As a result of this, nearly a quarter (23%) of building services companies say they don’t currently have the talent they need to meet their business objectives.

Nearly a third (31%) of companies have found it particularly hard to recruit experienced staff. Staff with operational and technical skills are most in demand for 65% of building services employers, and over a third (37%) want staff with managerial skills.

These skills shortages show few signs of abating, with employers across building services expecting a shortage of suitable applicants to be a challenge in the year ahead (64%), while nearly half (45%) think that competition from other employers will be a problem. Whilst skills shortages in building services is not a new issue, some employers may be concerned that the uncertainty around Brexit could be exacerbating this issue – potentially contributing to a lack of European talent coming to the UK, as well as causing a lack of movement by employees looking to avoid the ‘last in, first out’ effect.

Salaries on the rise

As a result of high demand for building services professionals coupled with skills shortages, building services salaries rose by an average of 2.8% last year. However, over the last year, well over half (58%) of all building services professionals have changed job, with 22% considering it – demonstrating that there is a considerable talent pool available to employers should they be able to attract the best professionals. In addition, of those employees who did move in the last year, most (28%) did so because their salary was too low. This indicated that employers need to offer more than just a competitive salary to attract and retain employees.

In an industry where competition is tough, how can you attract the very best staff?

  • Job security: with so many short-term contracts in the industry, one of the best ways to attract and retain staff is through job security. Nearly a quarter (24%) of employers say it helps them to attract staff, while 13% of employees say concerns about job security is the reason they want to leave their current role.
  • Benefits: nearly half (48%) of building services professionals could be tempted to move for a better salary and benefits package. The benefit which is most attractive to 54% of candidates is over 28 days’ paid annual leave, followed by training support and either a company car or a car allowance.
  • Work-life balance: just over half (51%) of all building services professionals say their work-life balance is either good or very good, so they are unlikely to sacrifice that to work for a firm which doesn’t give them the same or better work-life balance. Flexible working is still unusual in the industry, with 33% of employers offering no flexible working at all. By offering some form of agile working, you could attract talent from a wider pool.

To discover more insights about the building services market, and the prospects for the next year for the construction and property industry as a whole, request your copy of the Hays salary guide at

For more information or to discuss your recruitment needs in this field, please contact your local consultant.

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