So you want work in Construction?

My name is Joe Kenny and I look after the Temporary Construction Division in Servisource Recruitment.  What follows is a guide on how to get a job in construction from the perspective of a recruiter.

Time and again I watch candidates sabotage themselves by making the same handful of mistakes which can easily be avoided with a little effort, organisation and raising of personal standards.

What to do
Construction Compliance

To start with, get the basics right: to work on a construction site you must have:-

  • Valid Safe Pass
  • Valid Manual Handling
  • PPE Gear – Safety boots, Hi Viz vest, Hard Hat, appropriate clothing (not t-shirt and shorts!)
  • Relevant CSCS card if you are working as a Machine Driver, Banksman, Crane Driver, Scaffolder etc.

Keep all of the above in a safe place.  Just because you have a valid safe pass and manual handling cert does not mean you will be allowed on site.  If you cannot provide proof that you have completed those two certs, it is as good as not having the two certs.

If you lost them, left them in your ex-girlfriend’s house who you no longer speak to, the dog ate them, you will not get a job in construction without being able to provide physical or digital copies of those 2 documents.

I recommend:

  1. Take 30 photocopies of your Safe Pass and Manual Handling cert and keep them in a safe place.
  2. Take photos of your Safe Pass and Manual Handling and save them to your phone gallery so you can send them on to recruiters easily and prove that you are compliant whenever you need to.
  3. Email the photos of the certs to yourself so that if you ever lose your phone, you still have copies of them within your email sent items.
  4. Keep a record of when your certs expire. Even if your safe pass expired only last month, you are now not legally allowed to work on a construction site.  Renew your certs before they expire and you will never be in a position where an outdated cert stops you from getting a job.
  5. Make a note of your local building supplies stores. If you lose any of your PPE gear, you know then where to go to replace it.

Sell yourself with an amazing Construction CV

Candidates that do not send in a CV are at a distinct disadvantage to those that do.  A CV is your opportunity to sell yourself, to list what work experience you have, what skills and attributes you can bring to a role and where you can put references from previous employment.

It also demonstrates that you want the job enough to make the effort to write it up. Take the time to write up a CV, save an electronic copy of it in your emails, so that you will always have your CV to hand should you need to apply for a role.

Applying for a construction job

Be specific and clear in your application.  Perhaps write a brief paragraph on what job it is you are applying for or what type of work you are looking for and in what area of the country.

Do not simply send a blank email with your CV attached to a recruitment agency.  Recruitment agencies receive hundreds if not thousands of applications per week and may deal with a variety of industries.  If a recruiter cannot see clearly which job or which type of job you have applied to and where, they have to then get in touch with you to try and decipher which job you applied for and quite frankly, most recruiters do not have the time to do this chasing up.

Follow up on a construction job:

Call or email the recruitment agency or ideally the recruiter that looks after the type of roles you are interested in.  Make sure they have your most up to date CV on file and your certs on file also.

There is no need to call daily, but so long as you are looking for a job, getting in touch once a week is a good idea to keep you fresh in the recruiter’s mind and shows them that you are genuine and enthusiastic. This goes a long way to building trust and increases the chances of you being offered a job.

Get fit and look after yourself

Working in construction is a physically demanding job.  You may be on your feet for most of the day, lifting, carrying, using power tools, the list goes on.

In order to deal with the demands of the duties associated with working in construction I recommend trying to maintain good cardiovascular health, not smoking, eating a healthy diet and doing some form of regular physical exercise.

Make sure that you adhere to all the health and safety guidelines on site, and that if working throughout the summer months, you use sun protection to avoid the risk of contracting skin cancer.

What NOT To Do:

If you really want to lose the confidence of a recruitment agency or contractor and minimize your chance of securing further work, follow these simple steps:

  • Promise the world and then don’t show up and don’t give notice as to why you haven’t shown up. Don’t get me wrong, things happen.  You may be sick, your child may get ill unexpectedly and you have to look after them, your car breaks down, there is a death in the family.  If you are due to start work and cannot due to circumstances beyond your control, a simple phone call, email, text message or all three to your employer before you are due to start work is just common courtesy and allows the employer to either try and find a replacement or plan around your absence.  Not getting in touch ruins any trust that there was previously and decreases your chances of being hired again.
  • Walk off site randomly without giving the site manager or your supervisor notice – this is relatively uncommon but still happens. If you are employed to work on a construction site, unless you are on lunch or on a break, you are not permitted to leave site.  Walking off site during working hours is fraud and will not be tolerated, you are being paid to work there not to be elsewhere.
  • Find a quiet place on site and hide there scrolling through social media on your smart phone and hope you don’t get caught.
  • Arrive late or leave early.
  • Using drugs on site or arriving to work under the influence of drugs – absolutely unacceptable and a guarantee the contractor and recruiter will never hire you again.

Make yourself stand out

There are thousands of people with a safe pass and manual handling cert.  You can sit each course which will last between half a day and a day and obtain both for a total of around €150.

These certs make you compliant to work on a construction site but they don’t make you stand out from the rest of the applicants.

If you want to work in construction and you want to maximise your chances of securing long term work, you have to pay attention to how valuable you are to the contractor or recruitment agency when working for them.

If you are the type that always arrives early, never forgets your PPE gear, doesn’t sit around on their mobile phone, puts an honest day’s work in, is eager to learn … chances are you will be kept on or hired again.

This is how you build up trust, confidence and your own reputation.  I will often put forward candidates that I have hired before who we have received positive feedback from our clients on past jobs.

Another important one is before you finish any job, make sure to get the contact details of your supervisor or site manager and ask them if you can use them as a reference when applying for future jobs.  If you have worked hard for them, usually they are happy to do this for you.  This gives you added leverage when applying for jobs as now you can provide some proof to back up the content of your CV.

I hope you have found the above points helpful, and if you are looking for work in the construction industry, please send your CV and certs to and we will do our best to find you a job.

Click here to view all Construction & Engineering Jobs

Article Written By:
Joe Kenny | Business Development Consultant: Construction & Warehousing

DD: +353 (0) 42 936 8310  | Tel: +353 (0) 42 93 52723  

Construction Industry Federation Annual Conference 2018

Are you attending this years Construction Industry Federation Conference?


This year’s Construction Industry Federation conference will be held in Croke Park stadium on the 2nd October.

What is this years objective?
The fundamental objective of the Construction Industry Federation conference is to deliver the vision of Project 2040 which aims to build a better society, boost our economy and create large scale employment.

As the Irish population is estimated to grow by one million by 2040, we will have increased demand for homes, transport, education and employment.

Project 2040:
Project 2040 will provide Ireland with a future of wellbeing, equality and opportunity for everyone, however we are inevitably facing a continual housing and infrastructure crisis.

Project Ireland 2040 estimates that 550,000 homes will be required over the next 20 years, and the National Development Plan commits €11.6 billion to providing 112,000 new social homes by 2027.

How can we meet the requirements of Project2040 and how will the Construction leaders of Ireland overcome these barriers?

Following the crash in the property market, employment in the building & construction industry fell which led to many skilled workers emigrating in the search for work.

The latest SCSI/PwC Construction Market Monitor Report 2018 states that skill shortages remain a serious challenge for Ireland’s construction sector.

The key focus for industry leaders needs to be a huge hiring drive, such as outreach programmes in school, but also a recruitment drive in order to attract skilled labour back to Ireland.

If you are thinking of coming (home) to Ireland to work in the Construction Industry, Read our blog!

What will be discussed at the conference?
On the day, the Construction Industry Federation have an amazing line up – we will hear from notable Construction industry members including:

Brian Morrisroe-Founder and CEO, Morrisroe Group and member of the Construction Leadership Council, UK on the topic of ‘What does the future hold for the construction workforce?: Future-proofing our industry’.

We will have an industry panel discussion on ‘Solutions and challenges to improving productivity and competitiveness’ with Ann Dooley (MD, Winthrop Engineering and Contracting Ltd) Gordon O’Regan (CEO, L&M Keating) Tara Flynn (Director, Paul Flynn Construction) Fergal Murphy (General Manager, Kingspan Insulation Ireland)

And many others discussing topics such as:

  • Ireland’s key capital infrastructure priorities
  • The challenge of mega infrastructure projects
  • Diversity, inclusion and skills development
  • The intersection of technology and infrastructure
  • The economic outlook and impact of Budget 2019

Who will be attending?
Construction Industry Federation members, Developers, Planners, Engineers, Contractors, Policy-makers and Service providers to the construction sector will attend and exhibit at the anticipated Construction event of the year.

Come by and say hello to us at our stand at the Construction Industry Federation conference on the 2nd October.

Industry News:
According to the Construction Information Services research team, ‘11,752 Republic of Ireland Construction projects valued above €38.9bn have been added or updated on their online database to date this year.

The Irish Times have conducted their monthly survey of cranes in Dublin. For the month of September, 93 cranes have been counted across the Dublin skyline, a record number since the newspaper launched their crane survey in February, 2016.

This is an increase of 13 more cranes since the last highest number recorded of 80 on December 1st, 2017.

According to Derry Scully’s (Group President at Linesight) review of the Irish construction industry performance thus far in 2018, he states that construction will continue to grow strongly into 2019. Looking back to the beginning of the year, Linesight predicted that construction activity would reach €20.1 billion. However, now in September it is looking like it will be closer to €21 billion.

We are seeing continual rapid growth, however we are only at 55% of the 2007 peak output of €38 billion, but it must be emphasized this peak was unsustainable and detrimental.

The economy is approaching full employment but we are still experiencing a construction skills shortage crisis. Recruitment is a concern for main contractors, sub-contractors, as well as the design professions.

With a smaller pool of young people entering skilled trades, Irish Construction needs to employ more women in construction if the industry is to have a sustainable future.

Read our Blog: Women in Construction – Barriers & Importance of Gender Inclusiveness

All of the above-mentioned activity is generally providing confidence for the country that we are moving in the right direction, but we certainly have a lot more work to do.

Click here to view all available jobs in Construction and Engineering.

If you would like to have a conversation about opportunities in the construction sector – please email Amy on or Joe on

Women in Construction – Barriers & Importance of Gender Inclusiveness

A common question in this industry is why are there so few women in construction in Ireland?

  • Why should women work in construction?
  • What are the perceived barriers for women in construction?
  • What is the #BuildingEquality Campaign?

With a smaller pool of young people entering skilled trades, Irish Construction needs to employ more women in construction if the industry is to have a sustainable future.

Jean Winters, Director of Industrial Relations with CIF, said that increasing the number of women in construction will produce significant increases in terms of output and productivity.

This is ever more important as the latest SCSI/PwC Construction Market Monitor Report 2018 states “skill shortages remain a serious challenge for Ireland’s construction sector”.

Without female talent, any effort to deliver critical Governmental housing and infrastructure strategies will most likely fall short.

Read: Thinking of coming (home) to Ireland to work in the Construction Industry?

The CSO estimates that women in construction-related jobs sectors only account for 5.5% of the workforce, with the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) survey indicating that only one in 10 employees in their organisation is female.

The Importance of women in construction:

Construction is a universal language of global commerce, where you are able to obtain and secure work around the world. Within the construction industry itself, the variety of interesting career paths are endless, in addition to on-site trades.

The skilled trades require agility, endurance, balance and coordination – not a specific gender.

More and more women are entering trades and proving themselves to be productive, capable and reliable workers.

What are the perceived barriers for women in construction?

From the literature survey the major barriers for women in construction have been identified as:

  • Previous perceptions or stereotype that construction is male dominated and women have no place in this sector.

With many using the symbol of ‘builders bum’ to represent the construction industry; it is thought to have a ‘macho image’ and a male-dominated organisational culture; exposing women to a hostile environment and potential discrimination.

A gender-inclusive environment is required to entice women in construction.

  • Women are often deterred or laughed at during education from considering a career in construction or engineering.

It is significantly important for the construction industry to concentrate on gender inclusiveness by participating in outreach programmes to schools across Ireland.

Educating career guidance teachers and students about the range of career opportunities available to both men and women.

  • Perception that you require significant physical strength in this industry.

Many employers consider women unsuitable for some traditionally male dominated jobs, such as in the manual trades where workers need a reasonable level of strength and fitness, with some job requiring above average upper body strength for lifting and heavy operations (Greckol, 1987)

  • Inflexible working practices / Family commitments

As in most industries, the conflict between work-family obligations can deter women. Within the construction industry, male values are the ‘norm’ such as long working hours, competition, full-time working which could be seen as a barrier or preventer for women. Going forward, the construction industry needs to be society friendly with work life balance better for all, both men and women.

Source: Amaratunga, RDG, Haigh, RP, Shanmugam, M, Lee, A and Elvitigalage Dona, NG (2006)

#BuildingEquality Campaign:

The Building Equality Campaign is aimed at increasing the number of women working in construction. This is a key objective for the CIF.

The campaign encourages women to become role models for girls and women considering a career in construction.  By sharing their stories women are highlighting their importance of women in construction.

For an insight into last years CIF Digital Construction Summit click here

The sole reason for this campaign is to improve the gender balance of the sector and reduce the perceived barriers for women entering and working in the construction industry.

In today’s construction industry, men and women work alongside each other as respected members of the same teams and earn the same rates. If you’re still skeptical, check out the link below of females talking about their experiences and the value of women in the construction industry (CIF, 2017).

Construction and Engineering is an exciting sector for the permanent and temp recruitment division at Servisource Recruitment, due to client demand and skill shortages in sourcing suitable candidates to match specific roles.

Below are some of the professions we work with (not limited to):

  • Quantity Surveyors
  • Site Engineers
  • Project Managers
  • Contracts Managers
  • Planners
  • Building Services Engineers & MEP Coordinators
  • Site Managers/Foremen

Click here to view all available jobs in Construction and Engineering.

If you would like to have a conversation about opportunities in the construction sector – please email Amy on or Joe on

Article Written By:
Donna Farrell

Thinking of coming (home) to Ireland to work in the Construction Industry?


You’ve looked at the positives and thinking about making the permanent move – coming (home) to Ireland to work in the construction industry, but you want to ensure there are opportunities.

Following the crash in the property market, employment in the building & construction industry fell from 236,800 in 2007 to 83,400 in 2012.

If you were working in construction , you more than likely emigrated when the construction sector collapsed.

While some big issues are still in place; such as:

  • Brexit and its potential impact on new construction project demand,
  • Labour shortages, resources and tender price inflation;

The challenges today reflect the continued growth of the Irish economy itself; which can only be a good thing if harnessed.

If you are thinking of coming (home) to Ireland to work in the Construction Industry, you will be wondering:

Who is hiring?

The latest SCSI/PwC Construction Market Monitor Report 2018 states that skill shortages remain a serious challenge for Ireland’s construction sector. There is an under-supply of skilled tradesmen and industry experts – hovering between 53% – 84%.

The increase in construction output (expected to increase by 14% to approximately €19.5 billion in 2018) is positively linked to foreign direct investment. However to benefit from these investments; progressive infrastructure across housing and transportation are required.

The simple fact is, Ireland will need more construction workers/tradesmen if our building sector is to fully recover and our housing crisis is to be solved.

Due to it’s populous, Dublin has recovered significantly. In order to meet the demand of urbanisation; the government increased its capital expenditure on infrastructure development by 6.3%, from EUR3.3 billion in 2014 to EUR3.5 billion in 2015.

So who exactly is hiring?

If you are thinking of coming (home) to Ireland to work in the Construction Industry, most organisations in the construction industry, in all regions of Ireland are hiring, and these skills shortages offer you the perfect opportunity to make that move (home).

Regulatory changes

If you are thinking of coming (home) to Ireland to work in the Construction Industry, it is important to mention regulatory changes that have been implemented since the economic downturn (when you potentially left Ireland).

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 09 2014)

This regulation introduced a system of mandatory certificates of compliance at various stages in a construction process; where the building owner will be required to appoint competent designers, a competent builder, and a new entity, known as the assigned certifier; ensuring that the construction sector operates to a higher standard.

Get yourself up to date on these changes on the following link:

Salary expectations

If you are thinking of coming (home) to Ireland to work in the Construction Industry – salary may not be in line with Sydney, London, Dubai etc. However, Dublin is moderately cheaper to live in; and if you make the move (home) to Ireland now, prove your worth, you can reap the benefits of the upturn in the economy

Effective from 19th October 2017, A Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) for the general construction industry has been signed into law by the Minister for State at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, providing for mandatory terms and conditions in the construction sector, including pay, pensions and sick leave. (Notably electricians and plumbers are not included).

Most companies are taking direct action to address skills shortages where companies are running campaigns to attract engineers, architects and other construction professionals to come back to Ireland.

Salaries will differ dependent on what sector of the construction industry you are in however follow this link to give you an idea:

Cost of Living

The Dept. of Foreign Affairs carried out a survey which reviewed the worst problems affecting Irish construction workers who had emigrated & returned home.

Findings from this survey revealed the main challenges are:

  • housing (43.4%),
  • car insurance (41.4%),


It has been reported by the Employment Conditions Abroad that Dublin is now a more expensive place to live than the Silicon Valley.

A major factor in Dublin’s unwanted rise in the report is due to the rise in the value of the euro and a weaker dollar; as well as the fact that not just Dublin, but 10 European cities are now in the top 100 most expensive places to live category.

In the Action Plan for Housing, the Irish Government commits to a number of measures to increase the supply of housing to 25,000 units every year by 2020.

The plan also aims to improve the supply of units at affordable rates in the rental sector through measures such as the introduction of Rent Pressure Zones and the Living City and Rent a Room initiatives (IDA Ireland, 2017).

If you are thinking of coming (home) to Ireland to work in the Construction Industry, the reality is Ireland is an expensive country.

Workers should be compensated accordingly in terms of salary and with tax cuts last year, and government investment; these trends should afford you disposable income bringing stability to our public finances and to people’s homes.

But we would advise to get ahead of the curve and start looking now, get in touch with old friends, colleagues, everyone in your network and you’d be surprised what housing/rental opportunities are out there.

Car Insurance:

Despite recent research conducted by the Central Statistics Office, which indicated that the cost of motor insurance has dropped by 12.8% in the past 12 months, motorists are still seeing a rise on the rate of their premiums (AA Ireland).

If you are thinking of coming (home) to Ireland to work in the Construction Industry, the good news is there are insurance companies who are grabbing this opportunity.

Various companies are offering insurance policies to those with low or no, no claims bonus, especially those returning from overseas. Some companies to check out:

  • Quote Me
  • XS Direct
  • Non Standard Insurance
  • Chill Insurance

Although they are offering to insure, be warned you could expect to pay a little more than those who stayed in Ireland, but it will get you on the road which is advantageous in the construction industry.

The overall outlook is bright – if you are thinking of coming (home) to Ireland to work in the Construction Industry, there is copious work and salary opportunities in the this sector.

Ireland is ranked as the third most competitive economy and another plus – leading tax refund specialists say that they would guesstimate that 50% of returnees could have left money behind in the form of tax refunds.

Click here to view all available jobs in Construction and Engineering.

If you would like to have a conversation about opportunities in the construction sector – please email Amy on or Joe on


Article Written By:
Donna Farrell

CIF Digital Construction Summit 2018

Inside the Digital Construction Summit 2018 

The Construction Revolution

As today marks International Women’s day, I want to highlight a statistic related to the construction industry: 136,000 people work in construction and just 8% of these are women. Ironically, today also marks the official launch of the #buildingequality campaign, a campaign to change the perceptions of the construction industry and promote equality of opportunity for all.

The #buildingequality campaign was brought to my attention in greater detail yesterday at the CIF Digital Construction Summit in Croke park by some of the speakers. It is one of the steps that has been taken to move away from the traditional construction industry we are familiar with and is a central focus of the CIF. There has been an immense push of publicity using the Lottie doll dressed with a hard hat and #buildingequality.

At the CIF Digital Construction Summit yesterday, I had the opportunity to listen to many notable speakers who accurately provided me with an insight into the innovative digital construction transformation, an area that is quite new to me as a recruitment consultant, but again another area that we all need to proactively move with.

The day was certainly centred around leaving the traditional industry we are still very much affiliated with.

Some of the takeaways I left with were:

  • Germany Vs Ireland- There are 2% of school leavers taking up apprenticeships in Ireland in comparison with 60% in Germany. In Ireland there is a perception of ‘you must go to college’ and apprenticeships are neglected, whereas in these mainland Europe they have the opposite outlook. This must change as speedily as the digital transformation.
  • #buildingequality– is aimed at increasing and encouraging the number of women working in construction, a key objective for the CIF.
  • Measuring Vs Doing- An interesting comment made by one of the speakers was that “there should be less Quantity surveyors on site and more Foremen/Supervisors.” This comment may prove controversial for many, however as a prevalent topic of conversation today, the people on the ground incorporating the digital move into their daily work routine is an essential collaboration to encourage modernisation and as a result allows Quantity Surveyors to focus on their area of expertise- QS’s don’t build projects, Foremen do.
  • A view from the industry- Eoin Vaughan, CEO (Mercury Engineering) delivered a very relevant and reassuring presentation for main contractors in Ireland. He also reiterated that a culture of innovation needs to be nurtured and trades are not being used as agents for digital transformation. We need more engagement with the people on the ground. It is no longer sufficient to have your BIM hub in an office, it must filter through onsite.
  • Modernisation- Digitalisation in construction is not solely BIM, it is about encouraging an organisation to move towards digitalisation. Kids in today’s world grow up with an iPad, they are consumed by the digital world, so how can we prepare for them entering the workforce?
  • Costs- for the smaller construction companies who are feeling the pressure of the financial implications of digitalisation was that it is unnecessary to go on a spending spree on these new systems. However, what is essential is that you move with this revolution, do your research and find a cheap system that you can adapt to your organisation that works for you.

The key take away for the construction industry is digital is here to stay and will continue to evolve into a bigger beast. It must be embraced and nurtured and in turn will enhance the sector and create a leaner, more productive industry. Lastly, it does not need to be financially feared.