Refreshing construction

Mike Lomax, marketing communications manager, Tarmac Cement and chair of the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Industry Group (CIMCIG) explains why the construction industry needs to modernise its image.

Last month, I hosted a debate event at the House of Lords with a number of key players from across the construction sector. It was organised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Industry Group (CIMCIG), an organisation which I currently chair and which has the specific purpose of raising the status of the marketing profession within construction.

The event focused on CIMCIG’s stance on the current state of industry – primarily that we need to be looking for new ways to attract the next generation of construction professionals. Part of that is to work on the image of construction to widen its appeal to a broader range of young people.

As CIMCIG has argued, activity in the industry is strong at present and with so many building starts taking place, we’re going to need that new talent to maintain momentum. Mark Farmer, the author of a government report released last year, estimates that 700,000 people need to be recruited over the next five years.

So where does CIMCIG come in?

One of the initiatives currently underway is the CIM’s first ever specific marketing qualification for the construction industry. This dedicated programme, developed in collaboration with CIMCIG, has been designed to equip a new generation of young marketers to tackle the unique demands of our complex sector.

The course combines CIM training material with construction-specific insight, case studies and practical knowledge, and includes student mentoring by established industry experts. With so many junior marketers leaning towards FMCG industries, our goal with this programme is to attract that talent back to the B2B sector.

The new programme will provide a solid foundation both for junior marketers and for those in a marketing support role within the industry, and will give them practical skills and knowledge which they can apply immediately to make a positive impact on their business and industry.

Alongside this qualifications drive, CIMCIG is also strongly in favour of more apprenticeships.

Other factors involved include moves towards greater diversity in the sector. Construction is commonly associated with older men and not without reason – of all those working in the industry today, 45 per cent are older than 45 and 89 per cent are men. One of our speakers at the event, Jane Nelson, Group Executive Director at the Mears Group, is currently leading a joint project with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to encourage more women into the trades.

CIMCIG has been arguing for years for a new approach, and these developments are heartening to see. But they’re just the start. Now is the time for us to come together as an industry and to look for ways to make it an attractive career destination for young people. Construction still employs 10 per cent of the UK workforce and has a rich and prestigious history. Let’s make sure it has a bright future.