Green shoots emerging in the Gulf construction sector, says recruitment technology boss

Marcus TaylorEarly in 2021, the recruitment activity in the construction sector showed strong signs of confidence, according to the founder of the industry-specific artificial intelligence-driven job matching platform

Marcus Taylor, CEO and founder of FifthEdge, reports that while there are encouraging signs of recovery in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, more than 80% of recruitment activity remains within the Saudi market. Taylor said, “Based on the first two months of this year, FifthEdge is on track to see an increase of more than 30% in inbound interest in new opportunities compared to the last two months of 2020.

“The real surprise is the 20% increase in passive candidates who have come onboard to the platform. We categorise passive candidates as those who are secure in their current role but interested in considering something better.”

After 14 months of trials with ten leading early adopter consultants operating in the GCC, FifthEdge has received close to 250,000 applications and targeted 10,000 passive candidates to deliver evolving talent pools of more than 4,500 professionals across six core disciplines, including project, design, construction, planning and commercial management. 

“Our data and research have shown talent acquisition teams have been under immense pressure to convert conditional offers to getting boots on the ground as soon as possible. It's this confidence in things moving in the market that seems to be driving the increased applications opposed to the risk of unemployment, which was the primary catalyst to last year,” Taylor suggested. 

FifthEdge’s pioneering technology allows professionals to be matched and remain data fresh to multiple employers who deem their expertise essential to their organisation's future growth. Harnessing AI technology and complex algorithms fuelled by vast banks of ever-evolving industry data, the platform replaces up to 70% of the traditional recruitment process. FifthEdge provides unprecedented benefits to both employers and candidates beyond any internally-adopted system or technology, ensuring candidates never miss an opportunity with their preferred employer brands while reducing the cost and time-to-recruit by up to 90%. 

FifthEdge has seen a recent trend of increased applications from outside of the GCC, especially from those without any Middle Eastern experience. “My perspective on the figures is that most construction professionals see now as a great time to explore new challenges away from their home country during the increasingly intensified lockdowns and consider this region to be a more stable and pandemic-resilient environment,” added Taylor.

According to Taylor, FifthEdge covers multiple disciplines, but it has been designed and project management positions that have seen the most significant movement in the change of candidates’ status. On the other hand, commercial pre and post-contract positions have been the hardest to attract talent to, particularly those with accreditations from industry bodies, such as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, which currently appears to be the most highly sought-after prerequisite for key positions. 

Taylor remains optimistic for the recovery of the construction sector and hopes to see more GCC-wide opportunities, rather than such a strong focus on Saudi Arabia. He concluded, “We are very excited about our future in the construction market and our part in bridging the gap between our increasing user base and the industry's employers, both big and small.”

FifthEdge is expanding its scope to bring more options to its ever-growing database of users, who have seen the benefit of the platform's secure new application process. For a limited time, FifthEdge is offering ten free trials to consultants and property developers looking to put its technology to the test.

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