How Can Construction SMEs Compete For The Top Talent?

Guidance for Employers

How Can Construction SMEs Compete For The Top Talent?

How can SMEs in the construction engineering sector compete for candidates with the big players? Here Kat Jefferies shares the reasons our candidates say they would work for an SME.

construction SME

With competition from multinational companies for a limited number of candidates on the market, recruiters in the SME construction engineering sector may feel that the odds of securing top talent are against them. However, many of the candidates we talk to can see the benefits of working for a smaller company it’s just that often those firms are not shouting loud enough about them!

From our conversations with construction engineering candidates we’ve drawn up a list of reasons they would be interested in working for an SME. These points can be used to attract and engage candidates who might otherwise overlook your opportunity.

Reasons Candidates Want To Work For Construction SMEs

  1. More flexibility

Large corporates tend to be more set in their ways. Moreover as they generally attract more candidates to their vacant roles, they don’t need to be as flexible as SMEs can be. Candidates are increasingly looking for more flexible working, whether that’s the option to work less traditional hours or the opportunity to work remotely at times. SMEs can facilitate this and offer unique perks without any cost to the business. In fact it can actually be beneficial to the business with many studies showing that flexible and remote working increase productivity.

  1. Career progression

SMEs that are growing and expanding offer candidates more rapid career progression than some of the big players. Employees can often progress their careers as the company grows, getting promoted quickly as more staff and clients are taken on.

  1. Ownership and responsibility

The benefit of being a ‘big fish in a small pond’ is also attractive to many candidates because it allows them to take greater ownership of projects and their role. When working in larger companies with many colleagues fulfilling the same function, employees can feel like they’re expendable and just a small cog in a much bigger machine. Candidates that are looking for the opportunity to take on more responsibility and autonomy within their role will find being a big fish more attractive.

  1. Company culture

The SME company culture and employer brand can be a key differentiator when compared to large construction firms. Candidates are attracted to companies that share their values and promote a positive workplace environment. By using your company culture to attract candidates to your roles, you not only get more candidates applying but a better fit in general.

  1. Training and development

As a consequence of the 2008 global economic crash many companies reined back on their training and development programmes to cut costs. This has contributed in part to the skills shortage we are now witnessing in many sectors, including construction and engineering, and as a result many employees are stagnating with little opportunity for career progression. While firms are beginning to invest again in training and development, SMEs that offer candidates the chance to upskill, gain more qualifications and further their professional development can stand out from those that don’t. The benefit to the business goes further than attracting top candidates, as it also increases the skills and expertise within the company.

How to promote the benefits of working for an SME

When advertising new opportunities it is important to approach the job description and information about the role as a chance to sell the company to the candidate. Many employers approach the job ad as a list of their requirements – work experience, qualifications, personal attributes etc. – not considering what requirements the candidate may have.

SMEs can stand out from the corporate firms by highlighting the things that make them different and promoting their unique employer brand.

To discuss your recruitment requirements contact our team. Call +44 (0) 1252 413080 or click here for our global offices contact details.