At this moment in time in many countries, including the UK and Canada, there are still stay at home orders in force and extensive restrictions on national and international travel. The construction industry is continuing to operate, although of course subject to the applicable Covid rules, priorities and safety precautions.
While some construction sectors such as aviation and hospitality have been badly affected, the market for construction recruitment more generally remains very buoyant within other construction sectors. Maxim’s construction recruitment services remain in high demand both in areas of the UK such as London, the Midlands and Leicestershire, but also in Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton in Canada, and in our Asia business region in Hong Kong and Macau. Despite working at home being required wherever possible, construction employers are being innovative, pragmatic, and trusting in ways to recruit, on board, train, manage, motivate and look after their staff.
The construction recruitment consultants at Maxim have been really pleased to see new starters able to take up new jobs based from their home study or kitchen table and employers we have worked with have all shown the flexibility needed to make a success of the situation.
Inevitably it is harder in the current situation to train and develop staff and to help them to feel part of a business culture and a broader team, but I think it is fair to say that ambitious construction businesses are doing their best and ambitious individuals are making a success of new jobs, even when they haven’t yet met their line manager or customers face to face.
Networking and business development in construction, and construction recruitment, like in any other sector is particularly hard to do currently. The situation does provide an advantage to those that can leverage existing connections and relationships over those seeking to develop them from scratch. Maxim can certainly be grateful for relationships developed and maintained since 2003. Face to face meetings always produce a connection and snippet or two of information that you didn’t know you didn’t know.
However the rise of Zoom and Teams online events are a welcome second best to face to face conferences and gatherings, but they do have certain advantages. For example I attended two online conferences and ‘virtual trade mission’ events in the last week, one hosted from Toronto, the other from Vancouver and I still managed to make it to my table in Leicester, UK in time for dinner each evening! Some of the details of what I learned are shared in my blog on Canada construction projects (Maxim blog readers don’t even have to attend the virtual conference to find out what is going on!) It would be wrong however to think that all virtual meetings will be replaced back with face to face ones in due course again. There are advantages to virtual meetings (as long as you manage to avoid turning your own video image into that of a talking cat. Whether video conference software is the part-replacement of the telephone, or the replacement for the avoidable whole-day journey to a face to face meeting of marginal worth remains to be seen; just keep your kids off your PC just before an important meeting!
We can be hopeful that many elements of normal life and work will be safe to resume soon, and that includes face to face working, meeting, relationship building and working at a desk in the office rather than at home. We can also be hopeful that we can take some positives from the last year or so, and we can value working efficiently and travelling less, but also enjoy, even cherish the comradeship that comes from working with people in a company that you actually like. If that’s not the case, then you should do something about it – we will hopefully be seeing more of each other in the coming months and we have all surely learned recently that life is too short and precious to not make the most of. After all, this Lunar New Year, the year of the Ox, is associated with the values of hard work and serenity! Best wishes and Happy Chinese New Year!
Construction Recruitment Director, UK & Canada