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Airport industry surge in demand for permanent staff influences recruitment market shift

Airport industry surge in demand for permanent staff influences recruitment market shift

The increasing stabilisation of the airport industry and significant increase in government investment - &pound3 billion was allocated to infrastructure projects in the 2013 Budget – has influenced a significant shift in recruitment market trends.

Airport jobs market previously contractor-dominated

The 2008 global recession hit the UK airport industry hard, with budgets and planned projects re-evaluated amidst an unstable and uncertain market.

Airport operators reassessed strategies, commissioning a higher volume of smaller-scale projects - over large-scale capital intensive projects - designed to maintain competitive-edge with reduced budgets. This led to a surge in demand for contractors over permanent staff, especially for specialist project-based roles – planners, project controllers and risk managers.

This shift in the market to a more contract-based model across the board inflated day rates significantly for these roles, with employers competing to attract the best talent.

Permanent project-based airport jobs in demand

With renewed demand for permanent staff for these specialist project-based roles in today’s market we have now seen this market trend reversed.

However, the inflated day rates have made it difficult for employers to increase permanent salaries in line with their contract-based equivalent, affecting talent attraction.

Shift to a candidate-led market

Owing to the combination of high contractor day rates and a general skills shortage throughout the industry - particularly for qualified, specialist planners - the demand for permanent staff far outstrips supply, and this has led to a more candidate-led market.

Candidates seeking permanent roles who possess the desired skill-sets in project planning, control and risk management will be in a particularly strong position.

But how can employers address the issues of skills-shortage and pay inequality?

It’s important that employers work with recruiters to facilitate this shift in the market. A willingness to be more flexible with requirements and salaries may be necessary to secure the very best candidates. Additional benefits and an attractive company culture should be emphasised for more successful talent attraction.

“The inflation of contractor day rates for specialist project-based roles has made it difficult for employers to match these rates with a permanent salary equivalent. This is a challenge a lot of our clients have expressed concern over. With the issue seemingly prevalent across the industry, we work closely with our clients to develop talent attraction strategies based on the added-value they can provide - via generous benefits and perks - to entice the top talent. We also approach clients on a speculative basis to secure opportunities for candidates with their employer of choice.”

Paul Thomas, Director – Technical division, Morgan Hunt


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