the implications of 2021; Brexit and COVID-19.

From tailbacks at the borders to fears of material shortages and labour shortages, 2021 has been a difficult start to a new year still trying to rebuild from the damage of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Project managers have felt this specifically trying to manage a shortage in labour due to isolation needs as a consequence of the coronavirus. In an industry where many are unable to work from home, construction sites have continued to operate throughout the pandemic despite rising fears for worker safety due to rules not being followed. Our guidelines and those set-out by the government, have attempted to calm these concerns including creating new roles such as Covid marshals and testers to monitor these situations. 

Reassuringly, the UK government has highlighted construction as a driving factor in the green economic recovery, creating jobs and providing more sustainable homes, public buildings and infrastructure. This should bring more tendering opportunities for affordable housing, schools, hospitals and universities, on top of private housebuilding. 

future of construction.

The stamp duty holiday has benefited some housebuilders, while the Prime Minister’s rallying call to “build, build, build” worked to rejuvenate excitement in construction for growth. It’s hoped that reforms to the planning system – said to be the “most radical… since the Second World War” – will help new projects to get off the ground sooner. There are also programmes to deliver more affordable homes, regenerate brownfield sites and help small-scale developers access finance.

Green initiatives look set to fuel further demand for contractors, bringing opportunities in new build developments, as well as refurbishing and retrofitting existing homes and commercial premises.

demand for building surveyors.

A recent trend for 2021 has been the uplift in job listings for surveyors. As we discuss in the article the desire for building work, new development and improving structures all rely on the workers. 

surveyor job interest graph
surveyor job interest graph

Just shy of an all-time high from the past 5 years, 2021 has raised the bar for surveyors with an average salary of £45,000 per year. The majority of these jobs are based in London with Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Leeds accounting for only a quarter of the same number of listings. 

what skills are sought after?

For these roles, now highly in demand, also comes a gap in talent that a savvy job searcher could capitalise on and specialise in. 

surveyor skills in demand
surveyor skills in demand

As the image shows, Forecasting is being asked for but not found on CVs. Similarly, supply chain skills have an incredibly low hit rate in uploaded CVs but are being asked for more by employers. 

As we then look at the most common of skills, there are again more gaps to be found and a highlight to the current situation of the job market. 

surveyor skills common
surveyor skills common

Planning and self-motivation are skills employers are looking for but not being found on CVs. Whether these skills are simply not being highlighted on CV submissions or there is a gap in the market remains to be seen. A potential trend that is apparent however is the need for communication skills. With a strong disparity between what employers are looking for and what is being offered, the desire for better communication will continually be sought after in these job roles. 

With 76,000 jobs posted last year, competition is rife so finding the right candidate, and being the best candidate is important.

Is your business ready for 2021?

changes to consumer behaviour.

The aftermath of the events discussed above has generated both known and unknown effects on society. Travel screeched to a halt. Schools, stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues shut, re-opened, attempted limited numbers and have battled to stay afloat with greater restrictions in order to stay safe. Sports teams cancelled leagues and resumed in closed secure operations with stadiums remaining empty replaced with cardboard cutouts and streaming services. Hotels emptied and billions of people found themselves under lockdown, working from home or suddenly out of work.

Months of self-isolation and, in many cases, significant spending constraints quickly and dramatically changed how consumers behave. At the end of 2020, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecasted that the global economy would contract 6 percent this year.


For the hospitality sector, this means overall fewer jobs, less surviving businesses, more restrictions and most importantly a shift in the public use of the industry. Cinemas close and corporate spending drops, as Netflix and similar streaming services, seek to fill the void and in some cases replace them, with only now some select screens beginning to reopen across the world. 

Theme parks similarly have been forced to close indefinitely despite some being in huge growth areas to expand supporting a large part of construction and building surveying for future developments. Customer interest for these kinds of events, similar to football events may not drop off entirely, but after a year of not attending the fears of COVID may outweigh to consideration of risk until we have a strong structure of viable vaccines rolled out globally. 

Customer sentiment valuations have reflected these ideas showing marked reductions in any desire to travel and increase discretionary spending sparking a time to re-evaluate priorities in what, for some, is a time of crisis.[1]

the importance of trust.

One thing that remains prevalent across the past year has been the debate of trust. Safety in all aspects of its meaning are now more important than ever in public priorities.  

trust diagram, rebuilding hospitality
trust diagram, rebuilding hospitality

Trust will play a pivotal role in enabling businesses to recover and rebuild in the short term, and thrive in the long. As some businesses reopen, it may represent a return to some degree of normality, but many are still worried about COVID-19 and seek a new normal to feel safe.

Consumers need to be able to trust that organisations are taking sufficient action to protect their health. Every hospitality-sector business will need to actively engage with consumers and communicate the steps they’re taking to keep customers and employees safe and demonstrate how they’re living up to those commitments at every point of interaction.

adapting to survive.

Companies that adapt their offerings to reflect changing preferences and behaviours demonstrate their desire to listen, understand, and respond to their customers. Short-term, this can help deepen consumer trust, generate stronger bonds and drive future growth and success.

A key factor this year will be in the ability to generate a bond of trust with new and existing customers. In the same way, public sentiment towards John Lewis was based on loyalty and customer care, able to trump better-priced competitors, post-covid hospitality businesses will need to see this as a focus of success.

 

what are hospitality businesses already doing?

New Zealand’s Ministry of Economic Development introduced a voluntary app that uses a simple QR code linked to company registration numbers.
After a business has done the appropriate things needed to reopen, it can choose to enter this information into the app. Now their business is listed as “green,” meaning it’s in compliance with authorities’ reopening guidance. Customers can check for “green” businesses online or by scanning a QR code displayed on the storefront to be reassured that the establishment is safe. 

This level of trust is based on providing factual evidence and self-proving methods to translate safety towards to customer. 

Connection is also key, cutting through the noise and talking to customers directly. From signage to emails, social media posts to YouTube videos, a responsive business will explain and show what they’re doing. Fogging of the workplace and scheduled cleaning regimes are unlikely to land with customers until they can see what a fogging machine does, or how expansive the cleaning crew is and how thorough the job is. Clear, consistent, hype-free messaging is vital to ensuring customers understand what they’re doing and to build their trust. 

utilising technology for trust.

Across the hospitality sector, companies will need to take every opportunity to move touchpoints online as part of a broader effort to protect the health and safety of customers and employees alike. Streamlining this process makes check-ins faster, less need for cleaning and a general sense of safety to translate to customers.

Some of the current examples include; restaurants removing the need to pay the delivery driver, forcing all transaction online and via app. Gambling service providers may look to partner with food delivery companies and online or click-and-collect grocers through which to distribute lottery tickets and other products. Casinos may consider moving the gambling table experience online to bring their core customers together without subjecting them to intrusive physical distancing measures. Hotels had already begun to use smartphone apps to bypass the front desk with mobile check-ins and keys, though this was mostly done to reduce costs; COVID-19 has turned these cost savings into a revenue driver, and we should expect to see much
more investment in similar no-contact technologies. 

using operational agility to navigate uncertainty.

Being able to maintain operational agility will put your business in better footing to tackle the challenges ahead. Embracing an agile workforce and supply chain will grow the need to rethink staffing needs in a world of physical distancing and fewer customers. The new normal may no longer support pre-pandemic staffing levels, and companies may need to look at reducing staff or reassigning employees to other roles (i.e more cleaning staff than ever before). Yet at the same time, they may find themselves dealing with sudden changes in customer volume for reasons related to COVID-19.

An outbreak could suddenly require restaurants and other establishments to be closed temporarily, for example, or re-imposed travel restrictions could mean hotel guests don’t show up for their reservation. To deal with this, agility is key and businesses may want to make more use of flexible or contract staff or third-party service providers so that they can quickly respond to changing business conditions and staff up or down as needed. Something Randstad has always been good at is acting as an MSP to fill large volume orders consistently and accurately. Something that covid has highlighted is the need for staff pooling and using a secure group of tested individuals to fill staff orders so they can be relied on for shifts long-term.     

Our solutions are vast, across numerous sectors. With just one phone call or email, our teams across the UK can staff your entire business throughout the pandemic and beyond from a wide pool of candidates ready for work.                        

building a better hospitality sector.

sustainability is the future for hotels says Millenials.

In 2019, Millennials overtook Baby Boomers in the workforce [2]. Their reign will last well into 2034, at which point Gen Z will be fully employable (peaking at around 78 million). So, as an industry, we can’t ignore them. And now they’re demanding that hotels go green.

Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues, and expect brands to not only manage their impact but communicate it.

Diana Verde Nieto, co-founder and CEO of Positive Luxury.

millennials by numbers:

  • 55% of global travellers would be more likely to choose sustainable accommodation than they were last year, but state finding one is difficult.
  • 87% of millennials believe that the success of a business should be measured by its impact on the world.
  • Millennials remain sceptical about the impact businesses have on society. Evidence suggested that Millennials believed 61% of businesses in the world had a positive impact on society just over a year ago. Fast-forward to present day, that number has fallen to 55%. This number is projected to keep falling unless hospitality (and other industries) prove that they’re interested in more than just the bottom line.

the solution.

Some first steps include:

  • Removing single-use plastics from their dining centres and restaurants
  • Monitoring use of water
  • Sourcing foods from local farms
  • Experts also say to start construction ASAP (if you haven’t already) on more effective multi-purpose spaces that promote health and wellness for a more holistic guest experience. These interior design upgrades take a while to complete but will surely be worth the payoff over the next 15 years or so.

Now so more than ever, investing in the future of the generation that will be visiting your business is key. Meeting their needs, therefore, requires a new level of infrastructure, technology, interior design and promoting the sustainability efforts in promotions. 

how to build sustainably. 

Some businesses will now require complete overhauls of old buildings, or the removal and reconstruction. Planners, surveyors, designers are in great demand and will be for future generation to be able to think ahead and create in a sustainable and green way. 

Luckily we are still in the planning stage of returning to work for most of the hospitality sector. Which is the perfect time to settle 2021/22 projects and staffing requirements. To minimise delays and downtime when business picks up using the opportunity when customers aren't visiting locations to improve and build for the future makes sense in the long-run. 

Looking now for ways to at least survey current locations to make note of any potential improvements is a step to overall future adaptations. Utilising the time we have now to plan for the future optimises the ability to hit the ground running as lockdowns subside and the demand for a sudden onslaught of frustrated wannabe travellers. The question then becomes, who are these newly vaccinated, but still concerned about the virus people going to want to do business with? Most likely the business they have been researching whilst in lockdown and heard good things about all the preventative measures they have in place. The ones who have presented themselves as safe and trusted to secure business.

As always we're here to help make sure all that is possible.

[1] Deloitte, Future of hospitality, 2020. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ca/Documents/consumer-industrial-products/ca-future-of-hospitality-pov-aoda-en.pdf | 11.2.21

[2] Social Tables, 2019 Industry Trend Report. https://www.socialtables.com/guide/2019-event-trends-ebook/ | 11.2.21