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Hiring trends for Q4 and beyond

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Article posted by Josue Ngandu

​RO Energy is proud to be part of an industry that is showing great resilience against the current pandemic. Our clients are continuing to hire, and our exceptional Construction and Development professionals are safely working towards another record year for Renewables.

We have been encouraged as Hiring Managers begin to discuss plans for Q4 and beyond, but in a time of added uncertainty getting the right hiring strategy in place at the right time is crucial. During our time working in this niche sector, we’ve learned that there are clear and definitive patterns when it comes to recruitment. With the added effects of Covid-19 we expect considerable peaks and troughs, plus certain areas in which we feel some organizations could be missing a trick!

Holiday Closures

Already nearing the end of Q3, there’s no better time to have a plan in place for Q4 and beyond. Many industries see a drop in activity throughout Q4, owing to both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Construction and Development are no different in that respect.

During Q4 of 2019, our own hiring activity in the USA followed this trend, decreasing significantly towards the end of the year, but peaking again in January 2020. Our clients were all keen to pick up their recruitment activity again in the new year, but with so many Construction and Development specialists being required at the same time, this made for a very competitive and sometimes challenging market. One client told us, “We tend not to have as much time to dedicate towards trying to find new resources. That, and recruitment are pushed to the following year as we’re preoccupied towards the back end of Q4.”

Our advice therefore? Have a pipeline plan in place. Have a 2021 recruitment strategy set up ahead of, or even during Q4 this year. We’re not suggesting that you miss out on the November and December festivities, or put off completing urgent year-end construction deadlines. But, remember we’re here to support and can continue your search for the best Construction and Development talent for your project, even over the popular holiday periods.

In our experience, organizations who pipeline plan are more likely to successfully secure the best talent in advance of needing them to start.

Weather Constraints

In the USA, we experience dips in activity because of the weather – particularly when it comes to Construction recruitment.

The Southwest is one of the most buoyant areas in America for our Construction hiring endeavours, owing to a consistently warm climate. However, in other areas, where extreme weather can hit, construction is frequently affected.

Take one of our largest clients based in Maine for example. During the summer months last year they had 100 people working on their project at the same time. Come the colder months, those figures had dropped to just five. It’s standard practice for many projects located in areas that experience cold winter months to get closed, simply because they’re so heavily impacted by weather conditions.

Even companies whose sites aren’t directly disturbed by snow and ice can experience outages, as another of our clients explained: “Over the winter period…we had a few issues with our CAD systems and servers.”

It’s important to remember however, that although weather can have an impact on Construction hiring, roles that don’t tend to be affected are those in Engineering or Development. Functions required at the beginning of a project, before construction commences, can be hired for throughout the entire year, bringing us back to our earlier tip of pipeline planning. Where hiring managers consider their future recruitment needs ahead of the quieter holiday season, considerable time, and therefore costs, can be saved on your project.

Happy New Year

As previously mentioned, one of our busiest times for US Construction and Development recruitment is during January and February. This is when we see the majority of our clients ramp up their recruitment again following holiday shutdowns.

One client explained the difficulties they faced over that period last year. “We were trying to look for Civil Engineers and Design Engineers through our own means and methods and were not getting good resumes.”

As well as this making for an extremely competitive market, we often witness an additional challenge which can add time and costs onto a project. Experienced hiring managers will know that it can take up to six to eight weeks for someone taken on in a new permanent role to actually start, meaning that in reality, somewhere closer to three or even four months is lost should you only start recruiting after Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Tips for Attracting the Best Talent

So, whether you’re recruiting inside or outside of peak times, how do you ensure you’re attracting top Construction and Development talent to your business? The secret to remaining more attractive than your competitors lies in your employer value proposition.

We looked at the results of a LinkedIn Talent Pool survey which listed the top employer propositions for Construction Managers, Project Managers/Engineers and Civil Engineers in the USA. The top five were:

  • Good work life balance

  • Excellent compensation and benefits

  • Challenging work

  • Colleagues and culture that inspire employees to do their best

  • Flexible work arrangements

With salary becoming less important to employees nowadays across many various sectors, it’s essential that businesses, including those in Construction, are offering inspiring, challenging environments and flexible working options.

Through reviewing your employee value propositions and having a recruitment strategy in place which means you’re avoiding leaving your hiring activity until the most challenging periods, you’re sure to stay ahead of the competition.