Currently across all industries staff retention and securing high performing new hires is a challenge.

This week I've read two articles focused on several businesses from within the sectors that I serve - Building Materials and Construction - who have trialed new schemes to combat these issues.

For decades these industries have suffered from the stigma of attracting and retaining high calibre staff.  For decades these industries have suffered with (a sometimes fair) perception of being behind the curve when it comes to looking after staff and enticing a broader, diverse range of people.

Laing O'Rouke is introducing a new policy from October that will allow all employees, regardless of gender or parenthood by birth, surrogacy or adoption, to have six months off on full pay. Additionally, and effective immediately, is a new pregnancy loss policy, covering two weeks paid leave for any employee.

Being direct, our industry has pontificated around why we can't attract more women into leadership and engineering roles.  Well done Laing O'Rouke for looking to tackle this head on.

Furthermore, Willmott Dixon, BAM Construct, BAM Nuttall and Skanska UK have, for the past year, trialed a flexible time policy.  The aim being for this to increase work / life balance.  The result has been, on average, a one-third decrease in sickness absenteeism.  

We've all witnessed a hike in salary demands of the stronger (actually, in the darn right average) candidates who make themselves available.  Companies have increased fringe benefits, together with promises of future growth plans for roles.  The above are prime examples of the areas people see as important to them if they were to move roles.

Onwards and upwards construction and building products.  Pioneers!