As we approach Q2, the NI Construction sector is gathering real momentum, and this is clearly evident with the new roles Grafton’s specialist Construction Team has recently registered.
Having spent the last number of weeks meeting with many of our regular clients and assessing their needs, both short and long-term, the common feedback seems to be on the demand for Senior Quantity Surveyors and the difficulty in sourcing these professionals, particularly those with experience working on project values of £20 million upwards.
It is a very plausible demand, as our local contractors are having fantastic success in tendering for UK based contracts, were £20 million+ contracts are normal, whereas, its typically closer to the £10 million+ range in Northern Ireland, and this is were the differentiator lies.
The caveat must be whilst organisations will always hope to appoint those with experience of these larger contract values, we must be mindful that there is a limited candidate pool in this market locally.
Specialising in Construction related recruitment; our advice to organisations would be to consider Intermediate level QS Professionals, that whilst initially may not have the exposure of working on the larger contracts, still possess strong skill-sets and industry experience and will certainly have the drive and determination to succeed, if given the opportunity.
Whilst this may require additional support from the organisation in the short-term; the pay off to the organisation will be they have helped to shape and develop the candidates skills and career, which is a huge selling point for organisations currently competing for talent in a market clearly short of skills, rather than simply competing on salary, which offers no long term stability or loyalty from the employee.
We have also noticed a surge in the demand for Junior Quantity Surveyors and this is for a number of reasons, the most notable being salary demands, which currently are much lower and more affordable to NI based contractors.
Although from speaking with candidates daily they need to be mindful, whilst demand is high for their specific skillset, they need to be realistic as to what remuneration packages would be affordable to the organisation. Candidates should not just view a job opportunity as what is the best salary but what will offer the best career opportunities and therefore enhance future career prospects.
Looking forward, we see a continued shortage of experienced Quantity Surveyors in the Northern Irish market and supporting this claim:- in the first three months of this year alone, we have seen five contracts over the value of £10 million awarded, with a combined total of £563.50 million, the largest being the £330 million A5 Western Transport Corridor.
There are also a further 21 Contracts out to tender over the £10 million value, including a new cruise ship berth for Belfast Harbour, to facilitate the boom in tourism numbers, currently being experienced across NI. In addition there are two separate contracts totalling £29 million, being tendered for in our very buoyant Movie/TV industry, as well as further investment in Education, Healthcare and Hospitality.
This is fantastic news for the NI Construction industry as a whole and should reflect the hard work being done by the local firms to secure these contracts; however, the question lies in where organisations will source the experience they require to oversee these contracts, once they come to fruition.
Grafton’s specialist Construction Team see this as an excellent opportunity for organisations to invest early in the Junior & Intermediate level QS market, ensuring the right mix of skills and people are in place, trained to the desired standards of the organisation, ensuring a proactive approach to future business and company hiring plans, which can truly make Northern Ireland flourish.
If you’d like to talk to Grafton about roles in construction please contact Paddy McDade on 028 9032 3333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.