An all-inclusive approach is still needed in some areas of recruitment In the past decade, recruitment has moved away from the domination of the generalist and now favours the specialist agency. Indeed, the consistent increase of start-up businesses launching over the past few years – with 9,001 new companies set up in 2017 alone – indicates a sharp rise in niche firms operating in the UK. But while niche ‘inch-wide, mile-deep’ recruitment is, arguably, the best way to futureproof your firm, you do need to find the right balance. For both generalist and specialist firms, there’s still a need for an all-inclusive approach across some elements of the hiring process. Recruiters have long discussed the idea that the candidate experience has taken on a consumer-like style. However, I’d argue it’s not just applicants who expect this. We all demand it in everything we do. We want our suppliers to provide us with top-notch, streamlined services similar to the experience we’ve come to expect from Amazon, for example, where you can purchase virtually anything you need in one place. And your clients want this approach as well. The driver of this change – as with most of today’s evolution – is technology. We all want an instant solution, which offers the most seamless option possible – without juggling multiple processes and relationships. Employers, for example, don’t want to be managing several firms that specialise in one particular field through separate emails, meetings and calls to source the talent they need across their entire business. Managing multiple agency relationships through siloed channels, while also ensuring each of these really ‘gets’ the employer brand and represents the company well in candidate communications, is an unnecessary and hugely time-consuming headache for internal hiring managers – hence the strong growth in the managed services/RPO model.
We can’t ignore what everyone is crying out for: a one-stop-shop solutionFor recruiters themselves, jumping across CRM/ATS systems and compliance platforms can be a logistical nightmare. If hiring managers are making use of the managed service RPO model, why aren’t there more examples of inclusive offerings for the recruitment sector itself? If we take technology as an example, there have long been calls to be a specialist in a certain niche rather than look at an all-encompassing solution. Even with social media, we’re told to pick one platform and channel our efforts into this. But is that really the best solution? It’s undeniably difficult in this recruitment realm to buck the trend and go against the advice of our peers. In fact, whenever I’ve discussed the idea of a streamlined and inclusive offering with my network, the advice has always been to stop trying to deliver an all-encompassing solution and pick one area to invest in. But how else is the industry going to evolve alongside the sectors it services. Everyone in recruitment needs to be bold and believe in the power of an inclusive approach. Yes, there will be a need for niche offerings as skills shortages drive this demand. However to survive, recruitment firms of all types have to evolve and look at other service models that complement the specialist niche in which they operate. We can’t ignore what everyone is crying out for: a one-stop-shop solution, whether that be an all-encompassing recruitment partner that delivers specialist talent while managing other generalist suppliers, or a single platform that pulls all your administrative and back-office systems together.
Construction is behind the times when it comes to the successful integration of technology. While there has been some introduction of innovative approaches – drones on site and 3D printing, for example – cases of sustained incorporation are few and far between. So why is the sector so adverse to tech?
Following calls from the House of Lord’s Science and Technology Committee for the construction sector to avail itself of modern technology in order increase productivity, expert insight warns that a full package of investment is required. Investing in small areas of tech won’t cure construction’s dwindling productivity, says software and service providers Engage Technology Partners, with them advising that a focus on outputs alone won’t deliver an increase in production. The Committee advised the industry should increase its use of offsite manufacturing and other new technologies in order to improve productivity. However, Engage explain it is not so cut and dried. Drey Francis, Director at Engage explains: “While investing in more efficient processes such as offsite manufacturing is certainly a step in the right direction, this alone won’t solve the problem of hard to meet targets. There’s immense stress on the industry at the moment, with a high demand of expectations and low availability of talent. What we need to see is a greater focus on the use of technology across the entire construction remit, rather than just pockets of investment in the likes of offsite manufacturing.
“For example, small steps in back office systems which provide real-time, transparent data can help firms keep project costings on track, identify staffing shortages early on and, ultimately, ensure completion targets are more likely to be met. If we look at examples from other sectors – such as travel and entertainment – it’s clear that the integration of technology across all areas of the business can help a firm thrive. With pressure on the sector set to increase, now really is the time for construction to play catch up.”
New research has revealed the effect that the skills shortage within the construction industry is having on wages, with some roles seeing hourly rates more than doubling in the last four years. According to the data from software and service supplier, Engage Technology Partners, Crawler Crane Operators have noted the greatest increase in rates (82%) in the years 2015 – 2018, with much of this demand likely coming from the Crossrail project. EWP operators saw the second greatest rise in pay with a 77% increase, while Electrical Testers ranked third on the list with a growth in wages of 66%. In comparison, roles such as Maintenance Carpenter and Ground / Highway Labourer have reported a dip in pay, noting a decrease of 27% and 19% respectively over the last four years. This information comes at a time when the latest Barbour ABI Economic & Construction Market Review suggests the industry is facing a dip in activity, with the value of new construction contracts awarded in June 2018 reportedly the lowest figure in more than five years. Drey Francis, Director at Engage commented on the data: “The construction industry has long struggled with a skills shortage that has arguably been exacerbated by the stereotype of the industry as ‘male-only’ and the perception that it is not a ‘career of choice’ for most. However, this dearth of talent has led to many employers using financial incentives to source the professionals they need to do the job – hence the stark rise in hourly pay that we’ve noted in recent years.
“Given the current drop in project contracts, though, this increase in pay is certainly a worry for employers who will have to juggle resourcing needs and strict budgets. However, while the likes of Crawler Crane Operators can currently demand higher wages, firms can streamline costs elsewhere – through more efficient administrative reporting and timesheet monitoring systems – to better ensure their business withstands this slow period.”
Louise Skelding has joined Engage as Head of Customer Success. Louise is a recruitment software industry professional who brings with her many years of Customer Success and Account Management experience from management roles at Bullhorn and two leading specialist recruitment companies; Huntress and Office Angels. Her specialties include the Recruitment Process, Driving Product Usage, Minimising Churn, Business Analysis, Training, Database Configuration, Post Implementation Support and Team Management. Drey Francis, Commercial Director at Engage welcomes Louise: “As Engage continues to grow as a business, so too will our team of experts in software management and customer services. In this new role Louise will be ensuring that clients enjoy long term value from their investment in Engage VMS, back office or outsourced payroll systems. We’re all looking forward to working with her.”
On the 21st of June the ‘Engage Tigers’ had a fantastic day competing at the London Construction Industry Dragon Boat Challenge in aid of CRASH charity. Brilliant effort by the Engage crew coming 15th out of 37 teams, missing out on the finals by 0.9th of a second! CRASH assists with construction related projects, creating environments for vulnerable homeless people and those both young and old with life limiting illnesses. Thank you to all who helped us fundraise for this great cause. We are looking forward to next year already!
The Treasury/HMRC published a press release confirming the consultation on extension of public sector off-payroll rules to the private sector. It’s statement “We estimate that two thirds of people working through a company are genuinely self-employed and not affected by these rules. But around one third are working like employees” confirms the expected impact of this reform in the contingent workforce supply chain. The release includes a ‘Rumour’ and ‘Fact’ section designed to dispel some of the negativity around these reforms, but delving deeper into the Governments own research proves there have been negative outcomes for public sector bodies:
Fantastic write up in the Evening Standard today. Our CEO, Howard Hughes, talks about the inspiration for Engage and how momentum in both sales and investor interest is driving it towards a possible IPO. Read the full article here.
Alastair Clayton, Executive Director of Primorus Investments PLC, talks about why they invested in Engage Technology Partners and their expectations of future grow in an interview on investor channel Stock TUBE. [embed]https://youtu.be/LFpxEjYlaBo[/embed]
Engage Technology is pleased to note the announcement by listed vehicle Primorus re follow-on investment of £500k to help fund our growth to the next level and beyond. Alastair Clayton, Executive Director or Primorus commented - "Since our initial investment in September 2017, sales of the Engage platform have shown strong growth and we have recently been informed by management that over 44 corporate clients are signed up to the platform, thereby mandating the product use to their supply chains and service providers. Active users of the platform include large construction companies, well known high-street restaurant chains, numerous small and mid-sized agencies as well as larger labour supply companies across the UK." We appreciate the support and look forward to repaying the faith! Link to announcement here.