The unforeseen chaos caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic has had a disabling effect on international industry, and its impact on the construction and residential house building sectors have been marked. Q2 of 2020 effectively put the industry on hold, with virus related issues causing sites to cease activity. It was obvious that there would be a ‘pause’ in the market, but it was equally apparent that there was still a strong demand for housing. Once the environment allowed building to recommence, we all hoped that the floodgates would open and we would be playing catch up across the residential sector.
It’s been incredibly telling that the word “strong” was used 36 times in five recent house building trading updates. Share prices are on the up in the house building sector as the financial markets identify the strength of future demand and activity. On the back of this activity, demand within the recruitment sector is high with house builders identifying the need for high calibre personnel.
“Having been active in the recruitment sector through a number of downturns, including the global financial crises of 2008, we’re pleasantly surprised with what we’ve seen. Rather than an asset bubble going bust, or an economic issue rearing its head, the current situation was a government backed self-induced freeze in order to protect us – both physically and financially, and it could be argued this has helped the markets to maintain their robustness.” Says MRG consultant Lee Baddock, who specialises in the contracting, consulting and service delivery aspects of the construction sector.
The bounce back would seem to be bigger and stronger than expected. Order books are booming and the house builders are buzzing with activity. Throw in the stamp duty holiday to encourage buying, and we have a market that’s snapped back to life. If you take Experian’s forecast for example, they predict that GDP will collapse 15% this year; but then rise once again by 15% in 2021, showing that the recovery rate is as strong as the initial collapse. Similarly, private house building output is set to drop 35% in 2020 before rising 25% in 2021. Consensus earnings growth for the UK house building sector suggests that there could be a drop of 40% or more this year, before rising 60% next. As a result, we’re seeing recruitment in house building busier than ever.
Dominic Monaghan, head of MRG’s Residential Division across the South East, said “Since returning from lockdown, we’ve seen a sharp upturn in enquires for high calibre commercial, technical and production staff. Employers are astute enough to realise that with the change in the market it is imperative that staff are of the highest quality, and possess well-honed skills. This in turn has set us the challenge of seeking out these key individuals to meet our clients’ needs to maximise market opportunities.”
Lee Baddock has over 20 years experience in delivering targeted and covert recruitment campaigns within the built environment marketplace, Lee is now utilising this experience to work with progressive construction companies in the development of their management and project teams.