Industry view: Building up career prospects
By Fraser Carr, sales and marketing director, CALA Homes (North)
To some, oil and gas is where it’s at in Aberdeen – the only sector to aspire to work in. But the energy sector has created a unique environment in the city and beyond, in which a multitude of sectors can flourish and provide dynamic career paths with exponential opportunities.
Housebuilding is one of those sectors – an industry which is fuelled by oil and gas in more ways than one, but packs a punch in its own right.
Housing market fundamentals in Aberdeen are very strong and the region was cushioned to some degree through the recession due to the industry make up and lack of unemployment. In recent times, Aberdeen has consistently outperformed the rest of Scotland as a housing micro market, and it could be argued that only London outperforms it across the UK.
This sector strength in itself is a huge draw for those seeking to make their mark in the housing world in Aberdeen. Another alluring factor is the very nature of the business – the huge impact that a new home can have on a person’s life, both emotional and financial. Being a part of someone’s biggest ever decision is monumental, and the buzz of seeing their dream home come to fruition is a major perk of the job.
Due to the buoyant property market in Aberdeen the sector is vibrant, fast paced, competitive and offers a great challenge. Demand at the higher quality end of the market allows us to deliver a superb product – outstanding new homes with high specifications, great quality finishes and environments that potential homeowners aspire to.
But the challenge of recruiting quality staff is as tough in housing as it is in other industries in Aberdeen. Housing was under intense scrutiny throughout the recession which led to it being viewed as an unstable sector, and that stigma can be difficult to shrug off, despite Aberdeen’s comparable strong position throughout the downturn.
However, there were those who saw the opportunity in the area and grabbed it with both hands – I myself relocated to Aberdeen from London in 2009, in the middle of the recession, seeing some great possibilities within the sector and equally recognising the city as a great place to live.
Competing with the lucrative oil and gas sector when it comes to recruiting the best people is no mean feat – but it has made the sector smart, and each house builder must draw upon their own USPs to bring in the cream of the crop.
For CALA Homes, that means placing huge emphasis around retention and development of our people and, with that, nurturing commitment and pride in working for the brand. As the economic climate continues to improve there will be more companies looking to adopt the same approach to keep the best people and attract more to consider the sector, and perhaps even relocate to take advantage of it.
Those joining the sector do so at an exciting time in Aberdeen – there are a number of strategic expansions to the area that will take place over the next five to 10 years, bringing with them new ideas and concepts for those of us involved.
Having been founded in Aberdeen almost 140 years ago, CALA has seen its fair share of changes in the city. The new chapter, for both us and the wider industry, looks hugely promising.