Podcast: FifthEdge on recruitment issues in construction, engineering

Published: 24 February 2020 - 2:45 a.m.

The founder of construction and engineering recruitment firm FifthEdge, Marcus Taylor, discussed the challenges and legacy issues in recruitment in the construction and engineering sectors during the latest episode of the Construction Week Viewpoint podcast.

Taylor reveals in the podcast how FifthEdge is harnessing technologies to change the recruitment process in the construction and engineering sectors at an industry level, with its recently-launched artificial intelligence-driven platform.

Listen to the entire conversation here.

The key legacy issues that surround recruitment in general - as explained by Taylor - are "recruitment time, cost of recruitment, and quality of candidate."

"Every employer is fighting for the same talent pool. No candidate is exclusive to any company. The data from candidates becomes old very quickly, owing to various factors, including employee status change," he adds.

"Globally, every 24 months, an employee changes his or status," Taylor says.

To keep up with the rapid changes, FifthEdge aims to shift from a "human way" of recruiting to a methodology that is focused on harnessing technologies and is less "resource-hungry".

"Our ethos is to make available an up-to-date talent pool, which is "engaged, live, and ready, before a job is even made available in a company," he adds.

Taylor decided to step away from his construction and engineering recruitment firm Taylor Sterling (TSM) to launch FifthEdge in October.

"We started by taking on two SMEs and two large international firms. We took a trial to test our concept. We made 250 candidates recruitment-ready; the number grew to 988 candidates," Taylor says.

An alternative to conventional job tools such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor, FifthEdge's key offering lies in leveraging technologies and ensuring candidates have full control of their CVs.

"It is very easy [for recruiters] to be forced into making quick hires of the wrong quality and over the budget, just to appease the client. Our system allows recruiters to plan that, ensuring quick and smooth recruitment with a lead time from 4-7 days to zero," Taylor says.

Speaking about the challenges that accompany recruitment in construction and engineering in the region, Taylor raises an important question: "Several gigaprojects in the UAE and GCC – such as the Expo 2020 Dubai – are achieving completion this year. Where do the people employed in those projects go after that?"

"FifthEdge can manage the entire process in such a scenario," he explains.

The firm categorises job-seeking candidates as 'active' and 'passive'.

"Active candidates are contacted every 30 days, while passive candidates are contacted every 60 days. Candidates who are not looking for jobs are contacted every 80 days," he explains.

If carried out correctly, artificial intelligence and automation will play a massive part in the way forward, Taylor suggests, focusing on the use of technology in recruitment in the region across construction and engineering sectors.

"The future of recruitment in the region will be based around connectivity, with less long-term roles and employment becoming project-based. The top 20%, i.e, C-level roles and niche skillset will still have to be dealt by human recruiters," he concludes.

Construction Week Viewpoint is a weekly podcast series produced by the Construction Week editorial team and published on SoundCloud and iTunes at noon (GST) every Monday.

Business leaders are regular podcast special guests. The weekly bulletin has welcomed the likes of Gurminder Sagoo, client director of WSP; David Cook, the founder and chief executive officer of Contractors Direct; Michiel Raaphorst, the founder and owner of V8 Architects, who is responsible for the design of the Netherlands' Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai site; Ludwig Bouldoukian, Hyatt's regional vice president of development for the Middle East and Africa; and Geetha Nayak and Pratap Mendonca, managing partner and co-founder of Design Infinity.

To volunteer yourself or a colleague as a guest speaker on Construction Week Viewpoint, please contact Ashley Williams or Disha Dadlani.

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