After more than 16 years as a construction recruiter, if there is one thing I have learned it’s that you never stop learning. Bear in mind that when I began, in 2004, LinkedIn had only been in existence for one year and didn’t even have a UK office (that opened in 2008). Facebook was only introduced to UK universities in 2005, while Jonathan Markwell, Twitter’s first British user joined that platform in July 2006 and became only the 51st user of Twitter in the world! Behind the scenes, applicant tracking systems were devised, job-boards flourished and the techies came up with databases that recruiters from my early years in the game could only have dreamt about. Those firms that didn’t adapt and adopt the new kit tended not to last long. They weren’t living life on the edge; they were living life in a cave.
The fact is, most people – the ones in the caves - think in the present and don’t look very far ahead or take risks. Yet it’s the latter – the ones who live at the edge - who are more likely to create great, long-term businesses. While it’s true that success, in the short term, can be gained simply by hard work, sustainability requires foresight, working at the edge, constant renewal, being prepared to fail and start over if necessary and, of course, up-skilling on a regular basis.
Over the last decade and a half, I’ve seen a slow, but rapidly increasing, application of technology to the business of construction. So much so, that back in 2017, Balfour Beatty predicted that by mid-century the average construction site would not have any humans on it. That’s something that the really far-sighted recruiter should be planning for, and not, I should emphasis, because it will mean because we’ll all go bust due to the lack of demand for human beings (someone has to design the software that designs the buildings and understand and programme the on-site tech). Rather, it’s the recruiters that work out how to respond best to the changes hurtling towards us who will be the ones who continue to succeed. Suffice to say that at Peace, we’re already planning to be one of them…
Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment