Recruitment agencies welcome 100bn investment in infrastructure

22 - 07 - 2013

Recruiters have welcomed government plans to invest £100bn in UK infrastructure, but have expressed concerns about potential white-collar skills shortages.

Last month, chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander pledged the ‘most comprehensive, ambitious and long-lasting capital investment plans’ the UK has seen as he committed £100bn to infrastructure projects.
The projects, which aim to modernize road, rail and energy sectors, are scheduled to begin with a £50bn investment in 2015 and will last until the end of the decade.
Managing director at construction recruiter, Catalyst Executive Search, Ed Hoad said that the investment plans ‘can only be good news’.

However, he warns that white-collar, professional-level skills shortages are likely to be made worse by the proposed projects.

With many UK infrastructure professionals working on large projects abroad, he said they are ‘either they are going to have to come home, or we are going to have to find people very quickly.’
‘Not going to be able to magic those skills up overnight’

Andrew Szlarck, UK director at Project Resource, a recruitment agency which supplies white-collar professionals to industries such as infrastructure, construction and power and natural resources, has also expressed concerns that a number of workers who are due to retire in the next five years will not be replaced.

He predicts that contracting will become more common.

‘If there is a shortage and rates are going up, people doing those jobs are going to cotton on pretty quick,’ he said.

‘[Y]ou are not going to be able to magic those skills up overnight,’ he adds.

‘Great news for recruiters’
Paul Ross, chief executive officer at Barker Ross, an agency which recruits for engineering, office staff, construction and industrial jobs, claimed the investment is positive news for the recruitment industry.
‘This is great news for recruiters who operate in the energy and construction sectors, like ourselves,’ he said.
‘We've been seeing a steady increase in business anyway, particularly in the piling and engineering markets, so this can only mean more jobs, which is obviously good for our industry and the economy as a whole.’

‘Strong step towards the industry seeing future growth’
Rob Searle, commercial director at – an online jobs board for the construction industry – highlighted the potential increased employment opportunities that would be created by a high speed rail link from London to the North of England.

‘We’re still operating in a challenging environment, but the capital infrastructure investment announced is a strong step towards the industry seeing future growth,’ he said.

‘Research among built environment professionals has recently indicated huge enthusiasm for HS2 [High Speed 2 rail link from London to the North of England] and its ability to both create jobs and improve the overall employment prospects of those working on the project. The green light from George Osborne on Wednesday on this, along with news that a ‘Cross Rail 2’ project is scheduled, will only enhance the industry's optimism.’







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