• The need for fundamental change and greater engagement of young people was identified in the joint government and industry document published in July 2013 “Construction 2025”.

    Easier said than done I hear you say.

    So how can construction businesses go about doing this?

    • persuade more young people to pursue careers in construction this could be done by working more closely with schools and colleges, for example, developing outreach programmes;
    • closer collaboration between employers and universities to create more effective routes into construction;
    • make your business more attractive by offering incentives and benefits;
    • consider offering and subsidies for pursuing degrees in the industry that match your business and may guarantee a job with you;
    • promote a positive image including around your culture and reputation; and
    • increase diversity both within the workforce and by training current employees to understand potential discrimination issues that may arise and how this can be prevented.

    Staff retention
    Hiring new talent is only part of the story, it is key to retain staff and not lose them to competitors. For some, pay is a driving factor but for many it is not. A far bigger consideration for many employees now is work life balance and what else an employer is willing to provide or do to support an employee. This could include flexibility around personal and family commitments, understanding of social and cultural issues, looking after the health and well-being of staff and adopting appropriate initiatives around this. Other considerations may include framing development plans, having robust succession planning in place and providing coaching and development programmes for current employees. A scheme which is fully supportive of campaigns encouraging new people into the industry is the Considerate Construction Scheme, a voluntary national scheme developed for construction sites, companies and suppliers designed to encourage best practice beyond statutory requirements in relation to the general public, the workforce and the environment.

    Members are monitored against a Code of Considerate Practice and the scheme introduced a new criterion in January which involves a mental health assessment which is above and beyond existing criterion for well-being. Mr Petter, chairman of the scheme has confirmed an encouraging response, with some of the best sites looking at provision of mental health first-aiders.

    Case study
    Costain Group Plc is an international engineering and construction group focused on providing intelligent solutions to meet national need.Talent and skills development is at the heart of Costain’s strategy.

    Primarily, the business’ aim is to drive improved business performance by:

    • supporting staff in their individual job roles;
    • developing the skills necessary for the future of the business;
    • promoting individuals internally and encouraging effective succession planning; and
    • leading the National Skills Agenda in customers key sectors.

    With these aims in mind, Costain runs several highly successful initiatives:

    • a series of advanced high performance programmes that identify future leaders within the business and provide opportunities to develop their talents;
    • a structured, well-defined and highly regarded graduate training programme;
    • providing access to nationally recognised qualifications e.g. NVQ Diploma’s, and supporting learners through these qualifications;
    • an apprenticeship centre where apprentices can develop their knowledge and skills through combining work experience and study;
    • identifying potential to progress for all staff through the performance and talent management cycle and using the information to support staff progression through focused talent and development programmes; and
    • they are members of the National Skills Academy for Rail, Nuclear and Construction.

    This has made Costain an attractive employer to join. Current employees have a clear career path and opportunities for internal promotion. Skills development is genuinely valued and this has led to employees becoming increasingly proactive about their professional development. Training has improved employee satisfaction and engagement and staff turnover has decreased.*

    The construction industry is becoming more considerate, with an emerging spirit of tolerance and inclusivity – traits which are essential to encourage talent and growth of talent within the industry.

    We can work with your business on a wide range of matters raised in this article. Please contact a member of our Employment team if you would like assistance with employee engagement programmes, contractual considerations around benefits and incentives or training on diversity and discrimination.


    This content is correct at time of publication

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