Construction Professionals Skillnet




Liz Carroll, Network Manager, Construction Professionals Skillnet

LIZ CARROLL, Network Manager, Construction Professionals Skillnet, writes it is essential that business managers have recruitment and staff retention programmes that enable them to plan projects with the confidence they will have the necessary human resources in place.

Construction is battling with a severe labour shortage. Not only does the sector not have the human resources to meet current project requirements, but with Project 2040 and the government’s retro-fit plan rolling out, even more skilled people and new skills will be required in the sector to achieve the planned outputs. To compound this, there are labour shortages in all sectors, and these are competing with construction for people with the same skills, particularly in engineering, project management and sustainability.

To make matters even more difficult, the industry is still dealing with Covid-19 and its impact on those available for work, as well as its effect on building supplies in Ireland and worldwide.

The current situation highlights the importance of effective planning and risk management. And while that may have mitigated the impact initially, long term, even that probably wasn’t enough. The need for people with strong negotiation and communication skills has come to the fore more recently, as well as strong contractual knowledge and facilitating good relationships across supply chains.

What has also become apparent in the past two years is that the ability to respond to the fast and ever-changing situation is vital. In essence, a wide variety of skills and competencies are required throughout your company. Not only do you need to plan materials and finance for projects, but you also need to be able to plan with confidence that the necessary human resources will be in place to deliver these projects while making a profit.

What can you do to attract the right staff to work with you? What is your unique selling point?

In times of labour shortage, it is the applicant that has the power; the power to choose what is on offer or to reject it. It is not just the salary or role on offer but the complete package that the candidate is assessing. What makes your offer to the candidate more attractive than what others are offering?

According to thought leader and author Daniel Pink, what motivates people is autonomy, mastery and purpose.

  • Autonomy is described as the desire to lead your own life. This is contrary to the traditional view of management. Giving autonomy to employees ensures they are more involved in what they do.
  • Mastery is about wanting to improve. A sense of progress improves inner drive.
  • Purpose provides the highest level of motivational potential.

Those with purpose are also motivated to tackle even the most complex problems. However, without having a sense of belonging or being in the right place, none of the above will matter as the employee won’t stick around for long enough to be engaged, and the cost of recruiting them will be lost. This is where having a strong induction process and a clear equality, diversity and inclusion policy are central to bringing employees into the company, showing them their importance to the organisation and how they add value and are valued, and increasing the likelihood of attracting and developing a committed, productive, valuable employee.


What to do

Any business manager looking to attract and retain staff should ask themselves the following questions about their business.

  • Do you have training and development programmes on offer other than compliance and mandatory training?
  • Do you have employee career paths set out and a clear route for progression? • Do you have an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy?
  • Do you have a comprehensive induction process?

Construction Professionals Skillnet courses are tailored to meet the needs of contracting, engineering and specialist subcontracting firms, and we can work with you to assess your operations to identify opportunities to improve the effectiveness of staff recruitment and retention programmes and advise on appropriate courses that could help contractors and engineers improve their recruitment and retention strategies.

If you need help with your induction process, career path planning or training and development planning, or to organise an assessment of needs, please get in touch with Liz Carroll, Construction Professionals Skillnet, at

About The Construction Professionals Skillnet

The Construction Professionals Skillnet provides subsidised training for the construction industry. The following are some of the courses that are offered.

– Transform Your Business – Management Development programme for SME owner-managers

– CIOB Cert/Diploma in Construction Site Management – For site managers and supervisors

– Lean Six Sigma – Green Belt IASSC Certified – Improve efficiencies in your area of work

– Introduction to Lean and Last Planner – How Lean is applied to construction projects

To learn more about these and other available courses, contact Liz Carroll at or visit

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