The top 3 trends shaping construction recruitment in 2021

  • 19th October 2020
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  • posted by Beth Cullen - Director

After a turbulent year for many businesses, our associate director of construction Beth Cullen looks ahead to the trends that will influence recruitment in the sector during 2021. 

Use Beth’s insights, built over a decade in the sector, to get ahead of the game, and ensure you’re fully prepared to take advantage of the ‘build, build, build’ mantra, through the acquisition of top talent, and a robust people strategy.

1. Invest in talented bid co-ordinators

The Prime Minister’s mantra of ‘build, build, build’ is one that all construction businesses can celebrate. If true to their word, in 2021, the UK government will embark upon a programme of public sector investment in infrastructure and development across the UK, unlike any other in post-war history. 

Now is the time to prepare to take advantage of the development opportunities that have been promised. And in preparation for tenders being issued, we are seeing an increasing number of clients investing in bid co-ordinators. 

An experienced bid co-ordinator can make the difference between winning and losing a contract. They act as the central point for helping co-ordinate company credentials, bids and proposal submissions, producing high quality and detailed documents that incorporate information from across the business. 

A polished tender is a reflection of your company, and attention to detail is key, so investing in experienced and talented professionals to support your bid for work will be crucial for success. 

2. Technology will continue to drive efficiencies 

Technology continues to evolve and it is driving efficiencies both on and off-site. For white-collar workers and office-based staff, working from home, necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is likely to continue for many years to come, if not forever. To facilitate this, construction firms must continue to invest in technologies that allow for joined-up working, project planning and clear communications between teams.  

On-site, many firms are using technologies on the ground that means they have less time away from the site, back in the office, enabling quick access to information and faster decision making in real-time. The use of tablets means that if revisions are made to a building's plans, they can quickly and easily check them, with everyone working to the same plan in real-time. They can also be used to sign off work permits, and check quality assurance in real-time, which means less downtime for workers, helping keep jobs on time and on budget. 

3. IR35 is coming (again!)

Changes to IR35 legislation take effect in April 2021 and have big implications for businesses and contractors.

IR35 legislation originally came into being in the year 2000. It aims to ensure that HMRC collects tax from those people who are essentially ‘employees’ disguised as limited companies to reap tax benefits. 

Since then, the legislation has placed the onus on the individual contractor to determine their employment status – but in reality, many contractors either don’t realise or have chosen to ignore the rules. 

Changes to the legislation mean that from April, it will be the responsibility of the end-user client – and in some cases employment agencies - to ensure all their contractors are compliant with IR35 legislation. Those businesses that aren’t compliant with the new rules could face large tax bills and penalties. 

The impact should not be underestimated. There are an estimated 170,000 contractors engaged by 60,000 end-user clients who may be caught by these new rules. 

The off-payroll rules are designed to ensure that a contractor is taxed in the same way as an employee if in reality (applying the appropriate tests) they work like an employee, even if the label applied to them is self-employed. This is because HMRC receives less tax and National Insurance in respect of a self-employed individual than they do for an employee.

We’ll be sharing more on this issue in early 2021. Should you wish, you can check your employment status for tax using the Government’s online tool:

To secure the finest talent or find out more about any of the issues discussed in this blog, talk to Beth today. Email or call 0191 300 6360.