Q. I have been working in the construction industry for more than 30 years, initially as an electrician then progressing through to supervisor and manager. I am qualified in both building services and construction management, thinking that knowledge and experience in both these areas would make my employment safer in future recessions. But it would appear not. Since returning to university and qualifying in 2006 I have only managed one permanent position and lost that due to the company going into liquidation.
I currently live in Glasgow and am willing to travel up to a 50-mile radius for a position, though there does not appear to be any work other than QS or business development (sales) in Scotland. I have traveled and lived in England for 15 years and missed out so much on the family life that I would like to attempt to build a life at home. Do you have any suggestions?
A. Craig Martin, Rok people director for Scotland, comments: Unfortunately, due to the challenging market conditions facing the industry, there are fewer “permanent” contract opportunities available.
This is an unfortunate sign of the times and reflects the lack of confidence over the economic outlook in the construction sector. But it is all not doom and gloom and there are plenty of business segments and companies in our industry that have ridden the storm and are now experiencing growth. The challenge is to seek out these opportunities.
For example, in Scotland it is worth exploring the renewable energy sector, and targeting companies supporting the growth in wind and wave power. Despite the recently announced cuts in public spending, there remains strong demand to improve our social housing stock and while funding may come under pressure, there will continue to be opportunities in this area.
It is also worth targeting the numerous projects being launched in preparation for Glasgow hosting the 2014 Commonwealth games.
In theory, maintenance spend should increase when new-build projects are deferred, so your building services experience should be advantageous. Again, it is a question of market research and targeting the right companies in the right sectors.
In the meantime, I would encourage you to continue to pursue short-term and project-specific opportunities. This will place you in the shop window and can often lead to the offer of a “permanent” role. It can also provide you with a broad range of experience which will ultimately strengthen your future career prospects. On the flip-side, it does not remove the uncertainty, but unfortunately this may be with us for some time yet.
Please don’t get disheartened, as it is often amazing what opportunities can come your way.
Do you have a question you’d like to ask? Post comments or questions – under a pseudonym if you prefer – at the bottom of the web version of this article at www.construction-manager.co.uk.
And if you’re ready to move on to your next career challenge, look at our new website, www.ciobjobs.com.