How to make a successful career change within the construction industry
For years, the construction industry has been plagued by an acute skills shortage. The Federation of Master Builders’ State of Trade Survey Q4 2016 revealed a shortage of skilled workers in carpentry and bricklaying with roles in plumbing and roofing also identified as being particularly difficult to fill.
Meanwhile, figures released by the Mayor of London earlier in the year showed that one in four construction workers in London are from the EU. This makes up an enormous 95,000 workers throughout the sector – many of whom may choose to leave the country as Brexit negotiations wage on.
This means that the capital’s construction industry is set to need 13,000 new workers each year until 2021 to close this skills gap and to meet the market’s demands.
And it’s not just London where demand for skilled staff is high. The Queen’s Speech earlier this year demonstrated an ongoing commitment to infrastructure projects across the country, with plans to continue working on the HS2 rail network and promises of more new homes to be built announced in the speech in June.
Taking each of these factors into account, the construction industry offers incredibly attractive prospects at this specific moment in time. Regardless of the area of the industry you wish to work in, there are countless opportunities to progress and grow your career at a fast pace.
Redirecting your career in construction
Unfortunately, there has long been a broad lack of understanding about what jobs are available in the construction industry, with jobs in the sector often portrayed as being limited to manual labour roles based on a construction site.
You may have found yourself in a line of work that doesn’t feel right for you, or perhaps you’re simply feeling disinterested with your job after years in a role that has started to become monotonous – but are keen to stay working within the construction industry all the same.
It might be time to make a move. You can start by looking at vacancies throughout the construction industry, but with such poor education and information around what jobs are on offer this can be overwhelming, to say the least.
Instead, you should start by considering where your existing soft skills and personal attributes could be put to best use. Would you be happier managing an entire team on a construction site, for example, or working alone on tasks as a plumber or a painter?
Finding a role that’s suited to your skillset
Of course, you shouldn’t pursue a specific career path simply based on your ability to manage others, or your preference to work unassisted and manage your own workload.
You need to think carefully about how each of your soft skills can work together harmoniously to support you in finding a rewarding new role. For example, you’ll need strong communication skills in order to work as either a site manager or a bricklayer – however, the other soft skills you’ll need to succeed in each role are widely different aside from this.
If you’re finding it hard to connect each of your soft skills together, try speaking to a construction recruitment specialist to talk through all of your options at greater length. You could also use Randstad’s construction career match tool to help you narrow down your potential career paths, which works by allowing users to select their top three soft skills, and then suggests job matches based on each of these. The results will also provide a comprehensive job description, experience and requirements, typical career routes and a salary guide.
Once you’ve found a role that appeals to each of your abilities, try speaking to colleagues or reaching out to those in your wider network who have experience in that area. You can then begin building a personal career plan outlining the appropriate skills and experience you’ll need to develop in order to succeed in your chosen career path.
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