John Clarkson, Recruiter at Cobalt Recruitment 2015 hailed another strong year within construction with confidence compounded by the results of the general election, continued overseas investment into the UK market and low interest rates. Forecasts for 2016 through 2017 are strong, although not without risks, with key highlights in private housing, office and large infrastructure projects producing a steady 3.8 – 5% overall growth*.

More projects, not enough talent

The confidence and growth in the market drove recruitment to a critical mass with companies finding their quality resource spread thinly across multiple projects. An overview from the list of the top 100 construction consultancies and the WA100 top 100 architects saw almost all of them are hiring, which is an exceptionally positive sign.

This imbalance in supply and demand has led to positive increases in competition between consultancies and principal developers for the best talent leading to candidates having a greater choice of offers and increases in salaries and bonuses (up 5% on average, 10%-15% on moving jobs according to Cobalt Recruitment Estates Gazette Salary Survey 2015). We have also seen an increase in demand for interim and freelance staff to bolster teams, whilst permanent recruitment is underway or to fulfill specific projects.

Guarded optimism ahead

For 2016, we expect to see a continuation of trends from 2015 with a slight cooling off within the luxury residential market impacted by potential interest rate rises, (albeit there is still an exceptional amount of development in this area), and continued talking points around increases in commercial office, hotel, retail and the PRS sectors. Although the growth will be London focused with major developments such as Nine Elms, Wembley and the up and coming city skyscrapers like “The Trellis”, we will see strong development and construction activity in the regional cities.

2016 will see the demand for all levels of Quantity Surveyors, Project Managers, Building Surveyors, Architects and Designers to continue. Although there has been much discussion about effects of increasing salaries, golden handshakes, guaranteed bonuses and retention strategies with the large imbalance between qualified resource and projects to be delivered, we do not expect this to change.

If construction is characterised by an upbeat sentiment and guarded optimism for 2016, the recruitment mantra for 2016 should be one of "Focus, Flexibility and Foresight". Engage and work closely with your recruiter to drive the process forward and secure the talent that is needed to push beyond your competitors. The acquisition of good professionals within the market will be a major influencing factor to your company’s success, as the core skills shortage continues to be the main restraining factor to growth.

If you would like to discuss your requirements or current opportunities available, please contact the Construction, Infrastructure & Property team on 0207 478 2500 or email us at

*Source: Construction Products Association.

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