Top tips for hiring Construction Health and Safety professionals in a competitive market
The post covid boom in construction health and safety recruitment came to a shuddering halt in Q2 this year. This was primarily due to the substantial rise in inflation and associated rise in interest rates, of course all linked to wider global geopolitical instability including the war in Ukraine.
However, the end of summer has seen recruitment rise dramatically, this is again linked globally with the UK following the US trend who saw a doubling in the number of new jobs against estimates.
As a result, we are back into the post covid levels of high demand for skilled and talented construction health and safety professionals. This has meant the competition for the top candidates is incredibly intense with many being snapped up within days. This blog will highlight key tips to help attract the right talent for your Health and Safety Team within the construction industry.
1. Value your time
In a busy market, being agile and moving in a timely manner to interview, and throughout a recruitment process, is the number one suggestion we make to clients. This ensures they are in the pole position to recruit the best talent rather than these candidates taking roles elsewhere. An elongated recruitment process which misses out on candidates, will require you to invest many more unnecessary hours in the recruitment process.
This does not mean hire the first person or that you should not run your full process (more on this later!) however, it does mean prioritising recruitment once you have started the process.
2. Streamline the interview process.
Every organisation has a different method for interviewing and there is no ‘one size fits all’. However, we do find whatever your process, communicating this from the outset is a key to a successful recruitment process. Set dates from the outset - candidates are more likely to be available and you get more buy-in, a real win / win.
Combine interview stages where possible and look to utilise Teams / Zoom for a first round. Candidates can often be much more flexible with their availability, and this moves the process along more quickly.
3. Ensure you are ready to hire.
A delay in the recruitment process can cause a disconnection with candidates and in a busy market will reduce your percentage chance of securing a candidate. Delays are most commonly seen in the time between a candidate sending their CV and interview or between offer and contract being sent. If a delay does happen, we highly recommend staying in regular contact with candidates to limit any damage.
4. Review your salary structure
Setting off in the recruitment journey at the wrong market salary makes a successful recruit very tricky. Salary level in health and safety is not the main driver for most candidates, however especially with the cost-of-living increases this is a major component when deciding to change roles. Of course, every company has salary brackets and budgets for each role. We would strongly suggest checking the market to see if these are still accurate and reflective of the role you are looking to recruit. (If you have any questions about this Irwin and Colton can provide free salary benchmarking service.)
If you are unable to budge on salary, then it’s also important to consider flexibility with experience. Look for transferable skills, for candidates who have a hunger to learn and develop. Being flexible with experience and qualifications where possible can really open up your candidate pool and in turn reduce cost. Getting this balance right from the outset saves a lot of time and resources through the process.
5. Embrace flexibility
The workplace has changed drastically over the last few years. The rise of remote working has become extremely popular with many employees. Whilst this is not always accommodatable, especially in the construction industry, offering employees flexibility and the opportunity to discuss this will certainly help attract new talent.
6. Emphasise staff development
The best professionals are those that are looking to constantly grow and continually develop. Informing candidates that upskilling, training and development opportunities will be available to them is a great sell. Do you offer the NEBOSH Diploma? Auditor training? Leadership training? Mentoring? MBA? Many companies offer this but don’t mention it in the recruitment process – we would suggest shouting about it from the outset! Many people lack time and resources to invest in training outside of work, if you can offer them some support, they will appreciate the chance to develop and grow with your organisation.
There is no silver bullet to recruiting health and safety professionals in a busy construction market and it is difficult to get right – you are not alone with challenges! Irwin and Colton have a track record of recruiting construction health and safety professionals across the UK and globally. If you are looking for ideas, help, support, or benchmarking get in touch.
Kristian Gribble a Consultant at Irwin and Colton, a specialist Health, Safety & Environment recruitment company. For further information contact Kristian on Kristian.firstname.lastname@example.org or 01923 432 690.