Secure your pipeline

Claire Sheerin

By Claire Sheerin, director of Hays Construction & Property in Scotland

IT’S a question many skilled construction workers will be asking themselves: if my skills are currently in such demand, should I stay in my current job or look elsewhere?

Even if you’re an employer of choice, when there are still skills shortages in many areas of construction, it’s worth exploring the best ways to secure – and, importantly, retain – construction talent.

The latest report from Hays, What Workers Want, explores four key areas of importance for construction professionals and identifies the factors affecting their decision to stay in a job, or accept a new role elsewhere.

What we found is that whilst pay influences 49% of an employee’s decision to move roles, over half (51%) are focused on other factors of culture, career progression and benefits.

With this in mind, whilst employers must still offer a competitive salary, they also need to be mindful of the other aspects influencing employee decisions.

Pay remains most important for construction professionals, and at 49% it was rated slightly higher than the overall average for other professions at 45.5%.

Interestingly, 57% of construction professionals are motivated by bonuses. Although bonus payments are not prevalent in the industry, employers should note that 71% said they favoured a combination of fixed pay with a small performance-related bonus. However, it’s not all about the money. 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%.

A company’s culture is next in line, as it encompasses areas such as work-life balance, employee happiness and positive working environments.Less than half of construction workers rated their work-life balance as good or excellent, compared to 51% UK wide, and as a result over a third (41%) said they would be tempted to move jobs in a bid to improve it.

Over a third (34%) said the main benefit of improving work-life balance would be less stress, and improved overall wellbeing, reflected in the fact that two-thirds would be attracted to work for an organisation which restricts out-of-hours working, such as checking emails and taking calls.

For employers, defining your culture can often seem like a daunting task. However, culture is not simply defined by a workplace environment and should be cultivated from elements including leadership and management, practices, communication and missions and values.

The report also found that 87% of professionals said they consider themselves to be ambitious, with 42% aiming for senior management positions, and 23% for board level.

To meet this need and retain these individuals, consider paying for third-party training, on-the-job training, in-house training or mentors to help them achieve these aims.

Benefits were rated as the lowest priority, however, some benefits do have a direct correlation to work-life balance and culture, such as flexible working policies and annual leave allowances. These benefits are often sought out by professionals tempted to go elsewhere.

Finally, remember that simple gestures such as providing employees with recognition and respect, and rewarding hard work, are really important.