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A Recruiters View of the Commercial Construction and Development Market August 2013

Recruitment ConsultantProperty and Facilities Management

In the glory days of pre credit crunch, the real estate recruitment market suffered from a shortage of professional skills as the property development sector grew at a greater rate than the pool of talent. However, more recently, the more turbulent economy has heightened the issue with property professionals leaving the industry, relocating overseas or changing career path; meaning those professionals with the experience, knowledge and strong technical capabilities have seen a significant increase in demand for their skills. Which of course is all positive news for a UK based real estate recruitment consultant.


Pleasingly, the demand is coming from all angles and although not as relentless as it was 6 years ago, it is on the up. Construction consultancies of all shapes and sizes are looking to up-skill and not just due to business wins but because all of these businesses are working at full capacity and imminent business wins will not be serviced if they do not recruit. This has resulted in more businesses working with us to talent pipeline, effectively organisations proactively meeting candidates that are less proactive on the market but keen to network for when the right opportunity arises long term. Organisations can not afford the luxury of employees “sitting on the bench” but at least they can uncover talent so they can move quickly when the work is won or the extra overhead is justified. We are also finding more businesses looking at retaining search firms to ensure they get exclusivity on talent that is uncovered, which is key in this ever increasingly competitive and incestuous market. Core areas continue to be middle management, salaries ranging from 60-100k and it’s no surprise this is the level that is hardest to uncover.


Looking at the UK as a whole, it seems to be real estate professionals working in the capital whose skills seem to be the most in demand. While the London market is indeed seeing increased transactional activity, the general economy is now predicted to grow only by 1.5% in 2014 but this is of course not a true reflection of the London economic growth potential which I would imagine would be at least double this value.


This month (August 2013) UK construction growth accelerated to the fastest in three years and house prices increased to the highest since 2008 (Bloomberg). I have personally noticed a tangible rise in confidence and recruitment activity in all of the FTSE listed property development companies. Encouragingly there is a keenness to see top talent across the board and even more so; top talent with development expertise.


As well as the big boys in commercial development, the once “ever steady” residential market is beginning to show significant signs of growth again. Activity across the first two quarters of 2013 has seen residential construction and recruitment activity grow exponentially. This activity has been the catalyst for instilling confidence in the residential market and although we are still some way from the highs of 2007 the market remains optimistic for the remainder of the year and into 2014.

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