Skills Shortage Hits Housebuilding.It’s no surprise that the Housebuilding sector is beginning to show cracks, where the availability of talented individuals is concerned. It wasn’t so long ago that 10,000 people were made redundant. Not 10,000 subcontractors, I’m referring to employed staff located within offices of housebuilding groups up and down the country. Some would argue that many of the casualties were sub-standard folk and no real loss. That being the case, why is so difficult to find the best people in the housebuilding industry today? The whole sector needs a mind-set change. Customer Care is going backwards at a time when consumers are more demanding than ever. Nothing is up to scratch as the majority of new homeowners take to social media to vent their frustrations and company executives are demanding more output to meet their own agendas, as well as the governments housing need for an increasing population. Keeping it simple, without diversifying into developer speak, we are in a simple supply and demand scenario. Companies are being bombarded with CV’s of people that have often never met with the recruitment companies and worse still, the recruiters wouldn’t know a competent worker from another. Where does this leave the best people working in housebuilding? With any luck, earning the most, working for the best businesses. Who are the best businesses? This is not so easy to answer. The best businesses are the ones who interact well with the management and work style of the employees. Someone who has been spectacular in one housebuilding group, may find another completely unworkable and it’s often not the company that are at fault, but the line management of a particular company. Although there is a common thread, most offices work autonomously from each other and will also have a different feel, due to the style of MD or department head. My advice here is not to judge the whole company upon one experience or an experience shared by someone else who may have worked for the company in a different location or for a different boss. It’s all about the people. What really counts is the people. All too often I take calls from employees who have ended up making a wrong decision somewhere and need to explore other opportunities. Why does this happen? It happens because the recruiter or headhunter doesn’t understand or take an interest in who joins which company or for which reason. Most are just interested in their fee. We are all interested in making money, but not at the expense of peoples livelihoods. Do your homework on the company. Better still, if you’re involved with a recruiter, ask them all about the company, their involvement and how long they’ve been working with their client. Ask them for an in-depth opinion about the job role and the people whom they are likely to work for and with. If there is a silence, tread very carefully. Any competent recruiter should have the answers and fully understand the needs of their client and should be able to make a judgement or recommendation as to whether you’ll fit in or not. Be careful not to job-hop. Although lucrative for the recruiter, you’ll soon find yourself in deep water. How often should you change roles? That depends on many factors, not least of which, whether you have been quickly promoted or relocated or just pulled by others and have moved to a different business and need your expertise. So long as you can explain the story and it’s truthful, you should be ok. Sadly, if your CV has arrived in someone’s inbox and they don’t know your background or the recruiter, that’s where it will stay, or worse – the junk file. Don’t be tempted to jump ship for a few thousand pounds. There has to be other reasons to make the move. Money isn’t everything and when you’re working around the clock for a little more, being treated badly by people around you, it is too late. Why do so many companies struggle to keep their staff? Either they are employing the wrong staff or the expectations are too high and unrealistic. It’s then only a matter of time and being burnt out that will see people disappearing for better or easier options. What happened to training? There are some really good companies who will spend time and money training people, only to find them hopping off to the next business for more money ! There needs to be some loyalty on both sides. Companies that invest in their people should get pay-back. They should employ people at the maximum market rate and expect the maximum output. Bonuses are another topic linked with employee satisfaction and loyalty. A bonus should be what it is – A Bonus. Getting a reward for something over and above their performance indicators. A bonus shouldn’t be something that forms part of the salary and is expected at the outset. When you consider a new opportunity, by all means take into account the earnings opportunity including any bonus entitlement, but don’t count on it. Any plc with sense will know that they could lose their entire board based upon bonus structures and failure to deliver a bonus, so it’s quite a hot topic at year end. How do you know the going rate for your role in the sector? You ask me. I have up to date salary survey data covering all job disciplines for most housebuilding groups. If you think you are special and your voice isn’t being heard, get in touch. I’ll do my best to help.
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