Knowledge & Insight

House Building in the post credit-crunch economy

Tue 31 January 2012

The economic downturn has affected the house building industry more than any other sector in the UK economy. Although developers responded to the initial shock by making massive redundancies and streamlining operations, many quickly went out of business. Faced with a lack of funding and a collapse in consumer confidence, the industry contracted severely. Even today, little has changed as banks remain unwilling to lend at reasonable rates to either developers or potential buyers. So the house building industry remains stuck in first gear, and as this sector is the major engine of growth for the UK economy, the result is a classic “catch 22” situation.

The current state of play

Three years after the credit crunch, growth in the house building industry is patchy at best. Major house builders are still selling homes and generating profits, but they remain at the mercy of the wider economy. Finance is scarce and mortgage availability is limited, hampering activity across the entire sector. Yet while the effect on firms has been dramatic, the impact on individuals has been just as great. As demand for labour has fallen, many house building professionals have been forced to rely on their transferable skills to seek employment in other sectors. And having lost confidence in the ability of the house building industry to provide secure employment, many are likely to be unwilling to re-enter the market. The challenge for developers therefore will be to attract individuals with the right skills to fully exploit the recovery when it comes, because in the UK, where demand for housing continues to outstrip supply, recovery is inevitable.

Preparing for the recovery

Whilst it’s necessary to run a lean operation through the hard times, it’s just as important to be prepared for the recovery when it comes. Because when it does, with many firms having ceased trading, the opportunities for those that remain will be as great as ever. Yet preparing for the challenge isn’t easy. It’s important to keep up to speed with continuing technical developments, with new “green” legislation and with changing building regulations. Plus it means retaining or recruiting people with the key skills that will be needed to drive future growth. The most effective way to do this is to work closely with a specialist house building recruitment agency. By tracking and maintaining relationships with a great many house building professionals, Stone Executive can help employers attract high calibre candidates with the right skills and experience. So even if you don’t need the resource right now, it’s good to know you’ll be in a strong position to attract the right talent when you need to.

House building executive search

When the house building sector begins to expand again, the marketplace is going to experience a sharp increase in demand for skilled professionals, which means fierce competition for the best people. The challenge facing developers will be to recruit and retain the right people at all levels, from trades-people through to senior management and executives. Meeting that challenge will be essential, and successful recruiting for house building jobs requires the services of a genuine specialist like Stone Executive. Our recruitment professionals have enormous experience within the sector, and their extensive network means they’re ideally placed to help employers identify and attract people with the skills to match their specific needs.

Looking to the future

The house building industry may never be the same again. Although a recovery seems inevitable, the shape of that recovery and the look of the industry post-recovery remain unknown. The future of house building in the UK is likely to be driven by a number of factors, including Government policy on sustainability (Zero Carbon homes), technological innovation, external economic forces, perhaps even a change in the way house building is financed. As the pace of change of technology increases, the nature of house building jobs and the skill-sets required by developers are also likely to change. So the future remains unknown, but one thing we do know is that those firms that succeed in attracting the best people will be the ones to succeed.

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