The construction graduate jobs market 2016
The construction graduate jobs market is finally stabilising after a rocky few years. Last year, many of the big construction recruiters increased the number of graduates they took on… and this year they are not cutting back. Recruiters have told me that they plan to take on around the same number of graduates as last year.
The most sought after construction roles
Recruiters are reporting a number of harder-to-fill vacancies. Most notably:
- quantity surveyors
- building services (mechanical and electrical) engineers
- facilities managers.
You will need to have a directly related degree to become a building services engineer. Most quantity surveying employers require you to have a quantity surveying or commercial management degree, but a few will take you with a different degree and sponsor you through a conversion postgraduate course. For facilities management vacancies, any degree relating to construction, management or business is usually accepted.
How to get a graduate job for September 2016
Apply before Christmas 2015 if you can. To have the best chance of getting a job in your first choice of employer, division and location, apply as soon as you can in the academic year. Many construction employers advertise their applications as being ‘open’ or ‘ongoing’ all year – but they will fill their vacancies on a first-come-first-served basis with the best candidates.
Targeting is the key to success. You can’t copy and paste information from one application to another if you want to your application to be added to the ‘interview’ pile. You need to write an application that shows you really want that particular job with that particular employer. Make sure your reasons for applying are specific to the employer – do your research!
Consider your postgrad options carefully. In some cases, a postgraduate degree can help your chances of getting a graduate job (see below), but work experience and placements are usually rated more highly than postgraduate qualifications on their own. Of course, postgraduate qualifications are essential if you want an academic career.
Engineering students: you will be more attractive to employers if you have an MEng or MSc rather than a BEng.
Construction management students: employers don’t expect you to have a postgraduate degree, but the additional qualification can be helpful if you can explain how it adds to your construction knowledge and your commitment to a construction degree.
Quantity surveying students: employers don’t require a postgraduate qualification from graduates who have studied a quantity surveying degree.
When you get your job offers
Handle your job offers with care. Recruiters have told me that an increasing number of candidates want to delay accepting their first job offer until they’ve heard back from other employers. They have also told me that it’s increasingly common for the best-performing candidates to get more than one job offer. The secret to handling these situations is to keep communication open with employers.