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What's the key to securing top construction and property talent?



Despite an unpredictable 12 months – which left many with concerns around growth as well as business and consumer confidence – the construction and property industry has remained resilient. However, we have continued to see one factor plague all organisations operating in this arena: acute skills shortages.

It is therefore imperative to have a solid recruitment strategy in place in order to ensure that you have access to the skills needed to meet your business demands, whether this be building a strong pipeline of talent or adapting to organisational growth.

Effective talent attraction and retention strategies which enable you to be viewed as an employer of choice and to keep valued professionals should therefore be an immediate priority. However, what are the best methods to secure construction and property talent?
In the Hays What Workers Want Report 2017, we examined four key areas of importance for construction and property professionals and identified the factors in each that affected their decision to stay in a job, or accept a new role elsewhere. Here were our key findings:

1. Pay

Of primary importance for construction and property professionals, unsurprisingly, was pay. Around 49% of surveyed professionals attributed the most importance to it when considering whether to accept a new role or not, slightly higher than the overall average for other professions at 45.5%. Interestingly, bonuses appeared somewhat popular with these professionals, and where applicable, most employees (71%) favoured a combination of fixed pay with a small performance related bonus.

It is not all about the money however. Nearly three-fifths (58%) would be willing to take a pay cut if a new job opportunity offered everything else that was important, such as ideal benefits, career progression and location. Of these, 46% would take a reduction in salary of up to 10%.

2. Culture

Culture is second to pay in importance of consideration when making career progression and encompasses areas such as work-life balance, employee happiness and positive working environments. At present, 54% of construction and property professionals rate their work-life balance as average to poor, and more professionals would value a healthier work-life balance more highly than even their own opportunities for career progression. We discovered that miscommunication at interview stage was a contributing factor to dissatisfaction, as the culture of an organisation was not adequately described or discussed with 39% of employees. Better promotion of a positive workplace culture from interview stage could be a key differentiator for employers in attracting the best staff.

3. Career progression

Ranking third in importance, career progression was a less prioritised but nevertheless important factor, particularly as 87% of professionals considered themselves ambitious, 65% of whom aspired to senior management level or above. To meet their ambitions, employees said that they wanted paid-for third party training (73%), On-the-job training (61%), In-house training (46%) and mentors (37%) to help them develop highly in demand skills. Organisations should facilitate training for ambitious individuals, not only as a retention tool, but also to fill skills gaps as they emerge.

4. Benefits

At only around 13%, benefits were lowest on the list of priorities for employees looking to stay in their jobs or accept new roles. Their marginal position however contributes to workplace culture as specific benefits such as flexible working and generous offers of annual leave directly affect work-life balance. Other benefits policies however were often purposefully looked for by professionals considering a new employer; with 52% of professionals always considering the training and development policies in place and 47% always considering health and wellbeing packages.

Professionals clearly desire a package comprising each of these four elements, appropriately weighted, with pay at the top, followed by the aspects which will make them happy, productive and feel valued at work. Competitive pay is important, but culture too is a differentiator and professionals say they’ll consider making sacrifices to find an ideal workplace fit. It’s a sound investment therefore to work on improving the image and culture of your organisation in order to attract talented and in-demand professionals.

For more information, and to discover in more detail the elements that employees value the most, download your copy of the What Workers Want report.

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