The pandemic has plunged many construction workers into one of the most challenging times of their careers. As countries across the world dealt with lockdowns and other restrictions, construction workers have attempted to complete existing projects while protecting staff on-site, complying with government regulations and travel restrictions, and managing supply chain interruptions and project suspensions. As millions across the construction industry lost their jobs, the worry of job security has taken a massive toll on those who, pre-pandemic, had thought of moving elsewhere. This ConstructionOnline article surveying workers within the industry highlights that 62% of people said that construction operations were suspended for them during 2020, and results from an ONS survey in November 2020 showed that the construction industry had the second-highest percentage of businesses with only between zero- and three-months cash reserves.

Comparing 2019 to 2021, we can see a huge shift in terms of active candidates moving from one role to another. Although the question of job security lurks in the minds of those who were once looking to move, it’s also important to remember that partnering with a recruiter ensures your best possible chance at finding somewhere you can be happy and have that job security.

So how does the job market differ now from 2019? Let’s compare…

Increased hesitancy to move

During 2019, I was inundated with candidates expressing their interest in leaving their current firm. Most were due to qualms with their current employers, or the desire for an upwards trajectory growth plan, family relocations etc. This year, I have seen a huge increase in candidates who are hesitant to move. The main reason tends to be the fear of rejection – ‘If I am the last one in the door, I will be the first one out of the door.’ – this is something I often hear as a recruiter, which is understandable as the pandemic illustrated the ruthless nature of the industry, where companies had huge layoffs in a bid to survive. This means there’s suddenly this nervous state whereby people are scared to leave their roles. My advice here is to remember that this is at the expense of your career, and in the long term we will see a huge proportion of the market in more of a stagnant state than previous generations who pushed for growth without this huge burden worrying them. Companies are crying out for employees and there are more opportunities than ever before.

Increased counteroffers as companies panic

What we are experiencing from those we are talking to within the market, is that counteroffers are currently at their highest level in history, and most definitely higher than they were pre-pandemic 2019. I’ve noticed that clients are holding onto their staff for their own security – however, I think it’s a good idea to weigh up the pros and cons of this decision – if your company truly valued you as an employee, you wouldn’t have got to this point in the first place? Why does it take you handing your notice in for your manager to realise you do deserve a pay rise or overall better treatment? Of course your manager is short-staffed and keen to keep as many on as possible but offering a higher pay bracket just dusts over the real underlying issues. We also find that those who have been counteroffered are usually the first to go when the company needs to offer someone a redundancy… the trust is gone and therefore so is the job security.

Increased remote work and flexibility

Even the construction industry with its need to be physically present to deliver projects has managed to increase its level of remote working, with the majority of those originally office-based still able to work from home. A lot of candidates are now keen to find somewhere that offers remote work or at least flexibility, as it’s such a common bonus for companies to have in 2021. Over the past year, flexible working has become much more widely accepted by employers, however, with more and more employers offering this, if your current work doesn’t it is a good time to move.

I often speak to candidates who travel 5+ hours a day to work – commuting more than 30 hours a week, which is equivalent to some peoples’ entire working week. If we combine that with your hours of work each week, that is a huge amount of stress that isn’t needed.

Is now the right time to move role?

Are you looking for an opportunity closer to home? Are you looking for a better work/life balance? Are you keen on a salary increase? Whilst you might feel hesitant based on the past two years, companies are crying out for employees, salaries are higher than ever and the increased options in flexibility mean you can massively readdress your work-life balance.

If you are interested in a new career challenge, or you’re simply looking for some advice on where to go next, I am keen to arrange a confidential discussion with you. Email me at