The Jobs No One Wants?

On August 5th the news and information website Axios reported, under the headline ‘The American industries that can’t find workers,’ that there are now more unfilled jobs in the US than people who are unemployed. A situation that could be replicated in the UK as the government closes in on its target of ‘full employment’ after years of record unemployment.

Axios also listed the business sectors with the most difficulty recruiting. Top of the list was construction. One of the reasons cited was that, at least in the US, many construction companies don’t offer on-the-job training, a benefit prized by many Millennials looking to join the workforce.

As possibly the earliest specialist supplier of hard surface repairs to the UK construction industry, it has long been Magicman’s policy to put potential employees through its own bespoke training programme and furthermore pay trainees full wages while doing so. Firstly, no such training programme already existed but also there are advantages to providing on-the-job training for the employer as well as the employee. Not only does it guarantee that the quality of products and services offered by the company remain consistent but it also to some extent protects the company’s innovative processes and any IP it may hold.

Magicman have had a rolling training programme for years, once described in an ISOQAR audit as ‘exemplary’ but also one that is still improving and introducing new products and approaches. The original training facilities were located under Magicman’s Head Office but in 2016 the company spent nearly £200,000 on a new custom-built Training Academy in an adjacent building.  This is only a small part of Magicman’s ongoing commitment to each new technician which includes a vehicle fully stocked with tools and materials, technology that keeps them in touch with the office, a uniform and of course the now obligatory company pension.

Immediately after the initial training is completed, technicians are ‘buddied up’ with experienced technicians for a week and then have support from back office Technical Managers. After a couple of years, they have the option to return for further training in specialisations such as glass or stone polishing or to work overseas on cruise ships and international building projects with the long serving and highly experienced teams who will help them develop still further.

Inevitably incentives have been put in place to retain staff after training ends. Clear career progression, opportunities to highly rewarding overseas work and competitive salaries. For the year April 2017-March 2018, 31% of Magicman’s Technicians earned £20-25,000 per annum gross, 32% earned £25-30K, 24% were on £30-35K, 6% on £35-40K and the last 7% earned over £40,000 per annum gross.

CEO Mark Henderson, who started in surface repair and restoration as a sole bath repair technician 25 years ago, believes that working for a proven market leader like Magicman provides security for the employee. It’s a fair assumption. Although the company have extended their services to cruise lines and insurance providers in recent years, within the construction sector the term ‘Magicman’ has become a generonym (a brand so well known that it is used as a generic name).  With success comes imitators and site managers will ‘get a Magicman in’, even if the person hired was not actually trained or employed by Magicman, often much to their chagrin after the effect.

 

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Read Axiom's article The big picture: The American industries that can’t find workers