As we are entering the last week of January 2020 already and with the advent of phase two of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the Housing Secretary’s announcement to improve building safety standards, I have been reflecting on the last 12-18 months, the conversations I have had with my clients and candidates, and the recruitment strategy for the year ahead. One of the main areas I am focusing on relates to the recommendations from the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.
The proposal for the new role of a Building Safety Manager in particular, needs focus and understanding and according to some initial indications there may be a requirement for a large number of people to do a role that isn’t clear in its full remit or does not yet fully exist.
This may be deeply concerning to some of my clients and candidates, but I’m determined to see the positive. The proposed skills and competencies of a Building Safety Manager and the training available would give prospective candidates a clearly defined career path which could branch off into other areas like asset management, health & safety, property management or building compliance and I believe that would be an extremely marketable career option. Those skills, partnered with a job where residents’ safety and their standard of living could be measurably improved, would give a tremendous sense of job satisfaction at a time when this is, and will continue to be, of extreme importance.
Over the last 15 years, I have worked on recruiting a variety of roles, including new job positions that have been created to address a change in housing policy or the way in which a building needs to be inspected for repair, maintenance or safety. Where we have struggled to place candidates due to skills or qualifications, we have had to explore other sectors, invest in training or look at relatable competencies from internal departments to hire suitable candidates.
Further to reviewing the proposed skills and duties, and using our market intelligence, it is apparent that there is a growing skills gap that needs to be addressed. There are a number of recruitment challenges associated with searching for technically astute candidates that are experienced in managing buildings and able to engage warmly and sensitively with residents to ensure their safety. There is also the question of whether prospective candidates want to undertake such a high risk and critical role?
What we do know is that the housing sector is open and willing to share challenges, best practice and offer solutions to overcome them.
Now is the time to address the technical skills shortage across the sector. Whether it be training and developing existing staff, creating apprenticeship schemes or partnering with universities to create graduate programmes, we need to be creative in the way we grow and keep the talent pool topped up. We may also need to adopt a different approach to searching and attracting new talent from neighbouring sectors with the creation of academies.
As an experienced technical housing recruiter, my main New Year’s resolution is to try and work collaboratively with the sector to try and solve this problem.
We have already seen a cultural shift across the housing sector, with the approach taken to ensure buildings are not only compliant but safe. We now need to go further. If you are interested in working with me then please get in touch.
Executive Consultant - Building Safety, Property Services & Asset Management Recruitment, Badenoch + Clark.