Fallen stars: How employees view the construction sector and why this is lethal for NZ

Stonefields, a relatively new development in Mt Wellington
Potential employees are disenchanted with the construction industry. This may be highly problematic for an industry tasked with building houses, loads of them.

Construction industry – you suck. That’s the gist of what potential employees think about the industry, seen as becoming less attractive.

According to Randstad, employer branding research shows that the attractiveness of the construction sector has decreased for the fourth consecutive year.

Only 20% of respondents said they would like to work for companies in the construction sector, compared to 26% in 2012, 24% in 2013 and 22% last year.

Country Manager of Randstad New Zealand, Brien Keegan, believes that if the construction industry doesn’t take immediate action to rectify the situation, there will be major implications.

“Presently, New Zealand is experiencing a surge in both residential and non-residential construction projects, especially in Auckland and Christchurch.  To meet this demand, the construction sector will have to attract new talent and ensure they retain their top talent.

“The Randstad research shows that the construction sector is failing to maintain its attractiveness to current and potential employees.  This will have serious consequences for the sector, which is already facing staff shortages and an inability to fill positions,” he says.

Keegan thinks the implications could have a greater impact in the future where as many as 113,800 homes needing to be built in Auckland, and Christchurch starting its reconstruction.

“If construction firms are unable to complete projects such as these, there will be consequences for New Zealand as a whole.”

What's important for employees

New Zealand employers would do well to pay attention to what attracts people to their companies.

The most important remains salary and employee benefits (based on 21% of respondents); pleasant working atmosphere (10%), good work-life balance (10%), long-term job security (12%) and interesting job content (11%).

Despite being unattractive as a sector to work for, employees remain quite aware of sector (at 43%), on par with last year’s result, but a substantial increase on 34% in 2013. 

Due to this awareness, construction companies need to ensure the recognition is positive. “In order to recruit and retain the top talent, firms within the sector needs to ensure that they are perceived as good employers offering Kiwis what they want in a job, such as a good salary and work life balance,” Keegan says.