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Skills shortage provides opportunity for savvy construction job hunters
Published:  17 August, 2015

Martyn Makinson discusses the shortage of skilled workers in construction and provides tips to help candidates improve their chances of securing a job.

The construction sector has gone through a lot of changes over the past few years, alternating between thriving and seeing employment figures drop dramatically. The 2008 recession had a major impact on construction resulting in thousands of tradesmen being made redundant – with unemployment rising to more than 100,000 at its worst.

Now that the economy is in recovery and there is a demand for housing - the Government plans to spend more than £3.3 billion of new funding on building affordable new homes in England over the next three years - the UK construction market is forecast to grow 3% to 4% a year up to 2016.

In spite of this, unemployment figures in December 2014 show that there are still 17,000 construction tradespeople out of work.

There is such a lack of skilled workers that it is not only driving wages up to four times the cost of living, but recent research has shown that construction firms are being forced to turn down bidding opportunities.

At Ionic, we think that the employment gap in the construction sector may be due to a lack of support and information for candidates in terms of how to secure not only an interview but also a job. That’s why we are working hard to communicate to candidates how to secure a job and provide them with key tips to land a role in construction.

Candidate Tips for Securing an Interview:

Training

If during the job search you find that there is a particular skill that comes up time and time again that you are lacking, it may be time to do some training. This may cost money but in the end will be worth it when it results in employment.

CV

Having a CV is important no matter what your profession is. Ensure that your CV is up to date, looks professional, is clearly set out and has no spelling or punctuation mistakes. Nothing highlights a lack of attention to detail than not taking the time to double check your writing.

Tailor your CV to suit each job you are applying for by focusing on skills and experience you have that the company has highlighted in the job description. This shows them how much of a good fit you would be for their business.

Most people have had a time in their career when they have been out of work for one reason or another, especially during the recession, but you don’t want to intentionally highlight this to any potential employers. You may have to account for any large breaks, but, if you do have any brief periods of unemployment, it may be best to date your employment history by years rather than months.

Get your CV on LinkedIn too, so that recruiters and companies can easily find you when they are looking to fill a new role.

Social Media Presence

We have noticed that job-seekers do not always use social media to its full potential when looking for work and it has even been reported that 11% of all job seekers do not use social networking websites at all. This is a big mistake because it means you are missing out on vital opportunities to get noticed (in a positive way) by potential employers.

Some hirers are trying to get a more personal view of a candidate through social media sites like Facebook. This means it is important that any social media you do use gives a good first impression. Think carefully before adding images or content that could potentially be viewed as unprofessional or inappropriate, make sure profiles are free of typos and have at least a few posts about your trade.

If you feel uncomfortable with the thought of a potential employer looking at your personal Facebook and Twitter profiles, amend your settings to ‘private.’

Interview

If you get to the interview stages make sure you are prepared – learn everything you can about the company and consider ways you think you can add value to the business.

If you are meeting in person, dress smartly. Whether it is over the phone or a more traditional interview remember to be friendly, enthusiastic and to not be afraid to talk about how good you are – give examples of your achievements and how they can benefit the organization.

Martyn Makinson is managing director of Ionic Recruitment