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A third of construction and property employers are optimistic about hiring: so how can they secure the most talented candidates?

By Richard Gelder, Director of Hays Construction & Property

According to the findings of our recent Market Insights Report, which surveyed over 16,000 professionals and employers between April and May, 34% of construction and property employers are optimistic about the UK hiring market, and are planning to accelerate their hiring as the lockdown is gradually lifted.

But as uncertainty remains a factor, what skills do employers believe are going to be most useful as they plan their future hiring strategy?

1. Problem-solving and communications skills should be a priority

The soft skills that construction and property employers most want include problem-solving skills (in demand by 50% of employers), communication and interpersonal skills (49%) and the ability to coordinate with others (41%).

While these soft skills have always been important, the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted just how crucial they are to organisational success. The best employees today need to be able to show proactivity, flexibility and adaptability, and they need to be excellent communicators – whether in person or, increasingly, via digital means. These skills must be prioritised by those construction and property employers looking to hire individuals capable of hitting the ground running as we move forward into the new era of work.

2. Ensure work-life balance and wellbeing is high on your agenda

In terms of priorities, job security has increased the most in importance to professionals since the lockdown, followed closely by work-life balance and mental health support.

The Covid-19 lockdown has led many employees to attribute increased importance to work-life balance and mental health support – in what have been anxious and unusual times for many, progressive employers should place staff wellbeing high on their agenda. Employers should also take care to showcase these provisions as part of their candidate attraction strategy in order to stand out from the competition.

3. Make sure you emphasise long-term career paths

Despite a great deal of market uncertainty, many professionals say they feel positive or very positive about their jobs. This positivity varies according to the seniority of their role, with more senior professionals tending to be more optimistic.

However, professionals are less confident about career progression opportunities since the coronavirus outbreak – over nearly two fifths (38%) say they are now less confident about being able to move to the next stage of their career. Employers looking to hire should therefore highlight clear, long term career paths to candidates throughout the recruitment process.

4. Are you ready to hire in a new era of work?

The post-lockdown era of agile working and social distancing looks set to remain for a while, so you will need to consider how to accommodate any new staff into your overall strategy. There are a multitude of questions that employers need to think about, from the way their organisation operates, how technology can be best used, and which skills will now be needed. Throughout all of this, keeping the wellbeing of your workforce front of mind will be crucial in the coming weeks.

To help support you, download our guide for advice on what to consider now and in the future to establish your new way of working.

Download the Market Insights Report for more insights into employer and employee sentiment right now. For additional resources on topics including onboarding remotely, managing hybrid or flexible teams and undertaking virtual interviews as we move forward, visit our Inspire Me in the New Era of Work hub.

About this author

Richard leads specialist recruiting consultants across the sector. He joined Hays in 1991 and quickly worked his way up through the ranks and was appointed Director in 2001.

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