How to Attract and Retain Talented Workers on your Refurbishment and Shopfitting Project

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Demand for construction workers is increasing and the Construction Industry Board predicts that 230,000 jobs need to be created over the next five years. Yet productivity in the industry has remained flat since 1995. Part of the problem can be put down to hiring under-skilled workers. With so many roles to fill and construction skills in such high demand, how can you attract the talented workers you need for your next refurbishment and shopfitting project?

Overcoming the UK Talent Crisis

Often people look overseas for talented workers. Unfortunately, non-EU migrants workers are now more expensive than ever to hire. From April, all non-EU skilled workers living in the UK must earn at least £35,000 to settle permanently. The government is also considering raising the minimum salary for workers with a Tier 2 visa from £20,800 to £30,000.

Instead of hiring from overseas, you can turn to under-represented groups here in the UK. Inclusive working practices, such as flexible working hours and equal pay, could help you create a more balanced workforce and attract the best talent.

Promoting the Diversity of Roles and Career Paths

Old stereotypes of the construction industry can be hard to shake off – especially around the perceived limitation of job roles on offer. New initiatives like Go Construct are challenging these perceptions.

Launched in 2015, the campaign highlights the sheer variety of roles available, both right now and into the future. Go Construct is a bit like a bridge between you and talented workers looking for opportunities.

It offers lots of information to people interested in a career in the construction industry. It also highlights the many different routes people can take to find their perfect role. Plus, it helps you find ways to connect with these motivated and skilled workers.

Graduates Schooled in New Technologies

Exciting new technologies are constantly emerging in the construction industry – ideally you’ll want workers who are up to speed.

The industry is already raising awareness of new technologies among the most talented students. Through engagement with schools, colleges and universities, new technologies are now at the centre of students’ learning.

This means new graduates coming on board for your projects have an increased awareness of the industry and positive experiences of businesses just like yours. This gives them highly relevant skills and knowledge, and makes a career in the construction industry a more enticing prospect.

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Apprenticeships and Local Partnerships

Taking part in an apprenticeship scheme is one way to fill the skills gaps right away. Apprenticeships also offer significant long-term benefits. With an apprenticeship, everyone wins. The apprentice gains highly relevant construction skills training from experts in the industry. As an employer, you get a motivated employee with up to date technical and business skills, which can be passed on to colleagues.

Into the longer term, an apprentice will become a loyal and highly skilled member of staff who’ll continue to boost the industry and your business into the future.

What better way for potential workers to see the benefits of a career than to see it in action? For example, Building Plymouth is a partnership between local government, construction and built environment stakeholders that is linking Plymouth residents with jobs and apprenticeships. This local approach to matching workers with job opportunities is an effective way to fill the construction skills shortage, while bringing people into employment and enhancing the image of the sector.

Open Doors is another initiative that gives potential workers a real life glimpse of the many opportunities in the construction industry today. It aims to inspire – giving people a feel for what it’s like to be on a real construction site, and an insight into the wide range of skills and roles involved. It also gives businesses a chance to showcase the improving environmental outcomes within the industry, including good waste management practices and sustainability.

By taking advantage of these initiatives, as well as employing under-utilised talent here in the UK, you can fill gaps in your workforce and avoid costly productivity slumps.


  • Construction industry jobs are in high demand and skilled workers are needed to avoid productivity problems.
  • Initiatives like Go Construct can help you connect with highly motivated and skilled workers.
  • Schools, colleges and universities are engaging with industry to ensure the right technologies and skills are taught, better equipping graduates for work.
  • Fill gaps in your workforce by employing talented workers already in the UK and under-represented groups, including women.
  • Apprenticeships are an immediate solution to the construction skills gap and provide long-range benefits for your business.


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Jeremy Kaplan

A 50-something year old lifestyle, career, and education blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia. Years of experience in the office setting working with others and still loving it year-after-year.

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