Research: Construction sector’s staffing shortage will have huge implications


The construction sector may be unable to capitalise on the industry boom if it doesn’t take measures to attract more potential employees.

In the midst of huge demand for construction, research from HR and recruitment experts Randstad reveals that construction firms are becoming increasingly less attractive to potential employees.

The Randstad Award employer branding research shows that the attractiveness of the construction sector has decreased for the fourth consecutive year. When asked, only 20% of respondents said they would like to work for companies in the construction sector, compared to 26% in 2012, 24% in 2013 and 22% last year.

Country manager of Randstad New Zealand, Brien Keegan, believes if the construction industry doesn’t take immediate action to rectify the situation, there will be major implications.

Sector needs to retain top talent

“Presently, New Zealand is experiencing a surge in residential and non-residential construction projects, especially in Auckland and Christchurch. To meet this demand, the construction sector will have to attract new talent and ensure they retain their top talent,” Mr Keegan says.

“The Randstad research shows that the construction sector is failing to maintain its attractiveness to current and potential employees. This will have serious consequences for the sector, which is already facing staff shortages and an inability to fill positions.

“However, the implications could reach further than the construction sector. According to a recent report, Auckland may need as many as 113,800 homes built by 2031, and Christchurch, after years of delay, is finally starting to rebuild the city.

“If construction firms are unable to complete projects such as these, there will be consequences for New Zealand as a whole.”

Interestingly, despite a continued drop in attractiveness, the research shows that the construction sector has managed to maintain its name awareness at 43%, which is on par with last year’s result, but a substantial increase on 34% in 2013.

“We know that the construction sector is in the midst of a boom and there is a huge demand for staff to fill the existing and future shortages. What this year’s results also make clear, is that potential employees recognise companies within the sector,” Mr Keegan says.

“The challenge for construction firms is to ensure that this recognition is positive. In order to recruit and retain the top talent, firms within the sector need to ensure they are perceived as good employers, offering Kiwis what they want in a job, such as a good salary and work-life balance.”

Five years since the first Randstad employer survey was undertaken, the most important criteria for New Zealanders when choosing an employer continues to be salary and employee benefits, according to 21% of respondents.

This was followed by pleasant working atmosphere (10%), good work-life balance (10%), long-term job security (12%) and interesting job content (11%).