While a range of industries such as hospitality, leisure and retail continue to reel from the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown, construction has become one of the shining lights for job hunters, bouncing back from its sharp 41% fall in vacancies in March 2020 to become one of the very few areas where recruitment is now picking up.
Today (26 January 2021) the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its latest ‘Labour Market Overview’ with all employment-related statistics for the UK. Although unemployment rates continue to rise, job hunters can take some comfort from encouraging figures about the industry’s recovery.
The new figures from the ONS, covering October to December 2020, show vacancies in the sector are now 8% higher than the same period last year, pre-Coronavirus.
There are an estimated 28,000 vacancies, another jump up from the previous three months. Construction is one of just two sectors to have seen an increase in vacancies overall since December 2019.
The ONS says: “Construction was one of the sectors to see a large quarterly fall in vacancies at the start of the pandemic in April to June 2020, with a consistent recovery since the summer.”
The Construction Talent Retention Scheme is a not-for-profit programme, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and backed by business organisations, professional institutions and construction unions. Its online portal enables job hunters to upload their CV and make contact with more than 770 potential employers.
The portal is currently advertising 1,124 live vacancies for roles as varied as senior construction project managers to customer service staff, engineers, salespeople, estimators, digger operators, HGV drivers, handypersons, electricians, plasterers and plumbers, and warehouse assistants.
Three women seeking roles in the industry – Julie Traynor, Liza Zanoni and Anne Couesnon – are among more than 1,400 candidates who have already signed up to the scheme. In each case, they have found the Construction Talent Retention Scheme a good source of potential vacancies.
Julie Traynor, a chartered quantity surveyor and barrister, commented: “After my management consultancy and social strategy business was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, I was so pleased to find the Construction Talent Retention Scheme.
“The portal is great, easy to use and creates an effective marketplace between employers and candidates, without the need of a middleman.
“Knowing that so many employers can easily access my professional profile, and correspondingly, that I have direct access to their opportunities and vacancies, is wonderful.
“It makes the whole process of finding a new opportunity much less stressful. I would definitely recommend to anyone seeking a role in the construction industry to sign up to the Construction Talent Retention Scheme.”
Liza Zanoni had been working as a Project Manager for a small building company in Wales until last October.
She said: “As soon as I realised my role was at risk of redundancy, I put as much time and effort as I could into identifying and making use of all of the different platforms and channels to look for jobs and to network with people.
“I first found out about the Construction Talent Retention Scheme while I was on LinkedIn and immediately liked what I saw. What immediately struck me was the fact it’s an extremely professional service and an intelligent response to the current situation. The tools are easy to understand and use.”
Anne Couesnon has been using the scheme to look for new roles in business development and bid management.
She said: “I immediately logged on to the site and found it was extremely easy to use. I’ve found it really useful because it contains a large database of companies I’m interested in working for and it’s constantly updated with new roles, which I check on a regular basis.
“I’ve applied for more than 20 vacancies so far and taken part in interviews, one of which I’m waiting to hear back on, and it’s all been through the Construction Talent Retention Scheme.”
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