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Emerging markets pose threat to UK's skilled workforce

There has been a substantial shift in recruitment since the end of 2013.

At that time, it was very much an employer’s market with few jobs in comparison to the number of people seeking employment.

Now that the UK economy is strengthening through increased investment and transactions, so too is the property and construction job market.

It’s this buoyance that has led to demands for higher salaries and the need for employers to act fast to secure candidates.

There’s no shying away from the skills shortage the industry faces.

Many contractors and consultants lost staff over the course of the recession and little in the way of recruitment took place during this period.

At Gleeds, we’ve noticed a shortage of skilled graduates in their late 20s/early 30s, which is symptomatic of the lack of work experience and graduate programmes available across the industry from 2009 to 2013.

One of the ways Gleeds is responding is through the recruitment of school leavers, supporting them through day release university courses to gain both experience and training.

We’re also drawing on established relationships with universities to help boost the number of graduate work experience opportunities available.

In 2013 Gleeds’ turnover increased by 9 per cent, spurred by substantial growth in MENA, USA and Asia Pacific regions.

Emerging global markets do, however, present a significant threat to the UK’s skilled workforce. Many overseas workers are starting to move out of the UK as work picks up in other locations and/or in their home countries.

UK companies will need to adapt their approach to market as investment patterns change. We believe that the combination of Gleeds’ global capability and market position in the UK will help attract candidates looking for a career which presents opportunities for personal development and travel.

Our growth plan to double the size of the Gleeds business by 2016 means we’re currently recruiting for a broad range of skilled candidates, ranging from junior to senior appointments.

Recent mergers may present us with opportunities to acquire new staff. We recognise, however, that our competitors will also be wanting to secure the right people to develop their own growth plans, so we always prioritise employee engagement to help retain the excellent staff we already have.

Stuart Senior is HR director at Gleeds

Readers' comments (1)

  • Well what a surprise! Just like the Thatcher years 'pension holidays' taken by UK companies /institutions which artifically boosted yearly financial performance /share prices creating current problem of underfunding. UK construction move to subcontract labour -after the union bashing during same period- and resultant cost cutting has led us to a skills shortage! No doubt the usual bunch of half wits will be commenting next on the fact that 'school /college leavers' have no work skills! Fact that work skills come with employment seems to have escaped their 'classics' based education!

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