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Leaders Kuwait 2017: Digital recruitment will benefit construction companies

by Jumana Abdel-Razzaq on Nov 5, 2017

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Marcus Taylor, managing partner of Taylor Sterling Associates, says that firms need to change the way they recruit to avoid skills gaps, shortages, and mismatches.

The Kuwait construction sector is grappling with a skills gap as recruitment trends change around  the Gulf. Although this issue is not specific to any one GCC country, it is now high time that Kuwaiti construction firms started to address this shortage by focussing on better talent retention and recruitment methods, according to Marcus Taylor, managing partner at Taylor Sterling Associates.

“As an industry, we have to change,” he said during the Construction Week: Leaders in Construction Kuwait Summit last month.

“Without a foundation of people, you cannot get the job done,” Taylor stated, referring to the many projects currently under development in the region that suffered from the lack of a workforce skilled enough to complete them.

Taylor went on to highlight that social media was now one of the most effective ways in which to reach out to potential new recruits in any sector – a strategy that he said the construction industry in the region needed to make a greater effort to adopt in order to source great talent.

“[Embracing] social engagement is really what put my company on the map,” he said.

“The other [aspect] of the social network, whether you like it or not, is that you are going to have to start bringing in the millennial labour force,” he added.

“Unfortunately, an advert in a newspaper is not going to work anymore. Unless it’s on a mobile phone, [millennials] are not interested.

“Millennials are the future, but you still need to pick the best ones and engage them [effectively].”

Taylor explained that using social networks like LinkedIn was the way forward when it came to recruiting talent, especially younger professionals and fresh graduates.

He also said that recruiting new graduates created a loyal workforce, and increased talent retention in the long term, helping to tackle one of the major problems facing today’s regional market.

Graduate programmes were a great way to recruit this fresh talent, Taylor added, and construction companies should identify specific universities to work with in their recruitment efforts, in this region and abroad.

As firms undergo restructuring and occupations evolve, with some jobs becoming obsolete and new roles emerging, the industry’s recruitment efforts must also change, in order to stay in line with the real-world demands of the sector.

Additionally, construction firms should not wait for candidates to apply for advertised positions. Rather than waiting for talented professionals to come to them, companies should instead be proactive in finding talent, Taylor said during his presentation.

“Over the last 18 months, 75% of the placements that Taylor Sterling has made were passive. They were people that were not looking for a job, but we went out and found them.

"You have to be proactive rather than reactive,” he explained.