Ours is a position from which, undistracted by news or performance of individual niche sectors within it, we can see true trends and get a real snap-shot of what is going on.
Recruitment is a real barometer of a sector, and the trends we are seeing now tell a very interesting story. It is clear to us that the industry is well and truly recovered from the pain of the early part of the decade, and that positions previously shed are being re-created for the first time, and that the industry is very much in an innovation and growth phase.
It is great news for all, and great to see that an industry that showed such resolve in the dark days is now really reaping its rewards - the products it is designing and producing are winning real favour in the new-build and commercial sectors and with homeowners across the country.
There is, however, a down-side. The shedding of jobs that occurred over the past five years led to many people leaving the industry for good - for retirement or for pastures new - and one thing that is certain is that there is a shortfall in available, experienced, and qualified people to fill these new roles.
There is also the age old industry problem of insufficient new blood coming into it - whether through a lack of training for younger people to encourage them in against the attractions of other apparently more attractive sectors, or a failure of the industry to sell itself to experienced people from other industries looking for a change of career path.
What does this mean? It means that there is more demand than supply - a reverse of the situation which many product suppliers in the industry have experienced for years. The implications are this; that you might have growth ambitions for your company but you cannot resource them; that people leave your business for any number of reasons and you cannot replace them. We have been actively encouraging businesses for some time now to be really decisive when it comes to recruitment; be certain of what you are looking for, and work with an agency to find that person for you. Most of all when start the process of engaging with an agency, prioritise the process within your business calendar.
In such a market, candidates are being snapped up in an instant; no longer do they have to wait and hope that a potential suitor will come calling – they are the ones making the decisions.
In a few weeks we will be at the FIT Show with many others from our industry, and part of our offering will be to work with potential clients to give them a ‘health check’ in terms of what the industry is doing from a people perspective, what the industry is paying, and to advise them on the best ways to recruit.
The timing of the FIT Show is perfect: the industry is in a very different place than it was the last time we all descended on Telford, and we are looking forward to having the opportunity to help clients understand the new reality of recruitment in the window and door industry.