Recruitment Market Update- Building Materials November 2021

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In the final quarter of 2021, the job market for the building materials industry in North America is booming. There are three major factors at play:

  1. More available jobs: There has been job creation within the industry. Many companies downsized during the during the pandemic and are now rebuilding their teams. As the same time, demand for building materials has continued to grow, creating even more available positions.
  2. Job fluidity has increased: Candidates changing jobs has created new openings in the market. COVID gave people time for reflection and whilst some have decided to pursue other careers (becoming teachers, setting up businesses, etc.) others have simply decided to look for a new and better employer. Quoted in some places as “the great resignation”, whilst it may not be as all widespread as this name suggests, it is certainly playing a factor in fueling to the job market.
  3. Succession Planning: Succession remains the other widespread factor growing the building materials industry jobs market. The average age in the industry remains high, and historical hiring trends have left missing generations throughout the industry

These three macro-economic factors are impacting individual employers’ ability to attract high quality talent. These challenges are compounded by the current labor shortage for the more entry level, low skill level or more manual type work due to reduced immigration and shifts in low-income support. Skills shortages have traditionally impacted high skill roles such as engineering and design but are now impacting roles such as sales and sales leadership. The industry has not invested into adequate training and development over the years and has not been hiring and nurturing the right talent.

In addition to this skills shortage, there is also a talent shortage in the industry. This refers not to people with the skill to perform a role but rather the talent to excel at it from a strategic perspective, or inspire those around them, or drive positive change for their organization. The combination of less viable candidates and more available positions has resulting in a candidate led market that is busy and competitive. This all begs the question; how can organization adjust to these changes and attract the right people to join their teams?

The Solution

In the short term, working with a specialist recruitment agency with developed networks within the building materials industry and a thorough understanding of the roles you are looking to hire will help quickly fill the roles that need hiring asap. Working with an agency prepared to put in the hard work to dig deep into the industry to find the talent, and that has the skills and experience to coax a candidate across to your organization is essential here. This may include some tough conversations about your own compensation structure, your recruitment processes, your benefits program, and your employer brand as companies are having to work harder than ever to show why they are worth working for.

Longer term, individual companies must take on responsibility to nurture talent. They need to look at the careers they are offering employees, not the jobs they need filling. They need to invest now in the talent of tomorrow. They need to solve issues such as succession planning and the need to nurture leadership in an organization.

To adapt to the talent shortage, companies in building materials also need to expand their search criteria and look at candidates from other industries. They need to look at which other industries develop the skills and talent that can transfer into building materials, consider how to attract those candidates and go about diversifying their work force with employees coming from other industries. On the topic of diversification, the industry needs to continue to work hard to create opportunities for employees, other than the white ‘male’, to progress because without role models the industry will struggle to genuinely diversify.

And finally, on a broader scale, the industry needs to work harder collectively to build an industry wide employer brand that says, “Come work in building materials, we can offer you a career that others can’t”. Navigating the current recruitment market is all about leveraging what makes you unique as an employer, and attracting candidates based on what you can offer them long term. The industry needs to work out how to do that as a collective.

If you are a candidate in building materials, or a company with recruitment needs, contact Stephen at [email protected].


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