The Cost of Construction Recruitment in 2022?

Too high. Also, confusing.



many, many, many, amish men building a barn in an impressive display of cooperation. a wooden frame sits atop breeze block foundations, some men are finishing the roof beams whilst others pass-up and attach large corrugated sections of metal as walls
Photo: Randy Fath

What’s the issue? XX problems

Most industries are currently struggling to attract the right staff, with many struggling to attract any at all. Construction not only falls into both these categories, but also holds the unenviable task of not only needing to maintain staff levels but also make-up a shortfall of close to a quarter million workers.

The industry will inevitably also face shrinking labour supplies in the coming years due to the ageing construction population and slow adoption of alternative labour sources — i.e. women.

Currently, in the UK there are approximately 44,000 job vacancies in the construction sector, with the beginning of 2022 seeing the labour demand for construction reach the highest levels since 2002.

Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Post Covid-19 pandemic, widespread & well-documented online already global instability affecting material and energy prices have continued to increase pressure, leaving contractors already invested in projects with few money-saving options.

Most construction contracts do not contain fluctuation clauses whereby the price of works change inline with labour, energy & material costs, for example.

These increasing costs and decreasing profit margins have forced many businesses to save where they can, often making minimal investment when looking at new ways to recruit staff.

“traditional recruitment methods like job centres and newspaper ads were said to be effective for recruitment by only 1 in 10 hiring managers, HRs, and recruiters” — standoutCV

The typical length of a recruitment? XX days

Allowing for the fact length of recruitment is highly dependent upon factors including role, required skills and location, recent research has shown it takes the average jobseeker in the UK at least a month of active searching to find a new role.

During that time, they will make 27 job applications just to secure an interview. That’s about 6.5 hours per week looking for work. And with most people attending several interviews — most job seekers will send roughly 16 applications per week.

It’s easy to understand therefore why construction workers have been reticent to apply for roles online, instead often relying on word-of-mouth and personal recommendation.

But with generational changes leading to widespread digital adoption and the demand for staff and jobs high — why aren’t there more people working in Construction using online services?

How much does it cost to post a job? XX money

When it comes to recruitment, most people have 2 basic options:

  1. Do it yourself using various online platforms, i.e. social media and job sites and theoretically save money;
  2. Use a recruitment agency and theoretically save time.

Although specific costs vary widely, following option 1. and using a combination of, for example facebook and Reed, will cost approximately £200 — £500 per role.

Using a recruiter will cost up to 20–30% of final salary. Per role. Approximate cost (based on average wage): £5000. Although using a recruiter provides some protection and increased staff screening, recruiters only spend approximately 6–8 seconds looking at a CV, so despite being expensive this is by no means a risk free route.

Additionally, whether you go down a DIY or agency route — it’s complicated.

Linkedin for example offer great customisation options, allowing you to control almost every element and layout of your advert — but they all affect the final price, so it’s complicated and cannot give you even ballpark figures without a lot of input. Especially considering it may or may not even be a cost-effective solution.

Instead you decide how much you want to spend. Generally when someone asks you that it is either: a) indicative of shady sales tactics, or; b) a negotiation.

And this is not a negotiation.

But LinkedIn certainly aren’t the exception. Indeed, manpower, etc… No-one will give you a price upfront. You can set a spend limit, but that doesn’t really help you compare without investing significant time.

(For reference purposes though, if you used comparable settings for LinkedIn PPC and one job site as mentioned above, you wouldn’t get much change from £400. Timeframe? TBC, we’ll get to that shortly.)

The “typical” cost of advertising on almost any platform is… Up to you. Not only that but the price you pay is likely to exceed initial expectations.

The only options that are relatively straight-forward are generic job posting platforms, for example totaljobs and reed. But they provide a general employment platform and mostly lack any industry-specific support, checks or Quality Control vital to sectors like construction.

Instead all responsibility is on the employer. Equally, there is very little protection for employees unless adverts are flagged by users or reported to customer service. How much does it cost?

Reed: £175 — £250 +VAT for a 6 week job posting

TotalJobs: from £169 +VAT for 6 weeks

Next come the Pay Per Click (PPC) models, where it becomes impossible to actually get any sort of price in advance, because tools and AIs amend bids multiple times per day to adjust with site traffic, and “determining what the ideal spending pattern should look like”. Instead, Indeed suggest:

“Employers should set their budget based on the market competition” Deepak, Indeed.

But how do you set a budget without knowing how much elements cost? And who decides in the first place? Not only is this opaque pricing, but it’s also entirely based on each provider’s proprietary tool, which, by using dynamic-pricing, gauges fluctuating jobseeker traffic throughout the day and increases the cost for clicks when interest from candidates is at its highest.

Reducing costs with automated tools that match requirements and qualifications? XX + X - X = XX

Innovation will always help progress, but ultimately, until Construction has a unified hiring, plant & training platform, most responsibility will remain with the employer. Developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology now mean there are ways to maximise success when following a DIY strategy, but anything DIY by nature requires compromises and work-arounds.

And this is certainly true when exploring all the currently available options for construction professionals.

User reported problems include: lack of telephone/adequate customer support (LinkedIn), limited workflow customisation, lacking on-boarding facilities (HiringThing), inaccurate candidate filters, steep learning curves (Zoho), poor trial periods (ZipRecruiter) and almost uniformly opaque, unclear, complicated or expensive pricing plans & customisation options.

Almost all also operate on a subscription, monthly or yearly, basis making it less accessible to smaller businesses and individuals.

TradeGraft logo. Black text on a yellow background.
Image: TradeGraft


The only real market-ready platform for construction industry professionals is TradeGraft, as TradeGraft are the only solution working in partnership with CPCS CSCS and NOCN — as well as the Armed Forces Covenant.

From filtering by ticket type and qualification level, to flagging jobs in your area requiring your existing areas of expertise, to linking you to suitable training providers to further your career — TradeGraft takes care of everything on a single, unified, platform.

Only match jobs with workers already qualified for them and only find opportunities where you want them.

Additionally, with bespoke digital tools like the CV builder and suggested career routes, TradeGraft’s extensive training network to up-skill offers jobseekers the best opportunity to further their career and employers to find the right person for the job, quickly.

Work in Construction? Whether you’re looking for staff, plant, job or training — you have arrived. Nearly. Just click here — TradeGraft

Official partners: NOCN CPCS CSCS