In the latest of his series on regional job markets, Robert Smith of recruitment consultant Hays Montrose finds London Docklands and the City booming
The Building of a thriving and vibrant business district in London Docklands has made it one of the fastest-growing areas in the country for construction.

The number of jobs registered at Hays Montrose Docklands has risen threefold during the past two years because of the large number of projects in the area. Homes, restaurants, shops, bars and other services are planned or under construction and there are numerous employment opportunities at all levels.

Apart from projects such as Canary Central or New Providence Wharf, aimed at the increasing residential population, extensive commercial new build projects are ongoing at Canary Wharf.

Two towers, owned by HSBC and Citigroup, have recently been completed, and HSBC alone is bringing 8000 new staff to the area.

Construction recruitment for projects such as these has really taken off since last summer, with the number of jobs registered for Canary Wharf through Hays Montrose doubling since this time.

New-build commercial projects in nearby areas to the south and east of Canary Wharf are also creating opportunities in facilities management and maintenance. And further west, commercial and housing work is increasing in non-traditional areas of the Square Mile such as Old Street because, with very little new space available, companies are looking to new-build and refurbishment in less developed areas.

Cladding and glazing workers are in particular demand for Canary Wharf projects and the demand for scaffolders and curtain wallers has pushed temporary rates to between £13 and £19 per hour. Similarly to the rest of London and the rest of the country, site managers and quantity surveyors are also very difficult to find.

"The large number of projects in this area means there is a range of positions available for suitably qualified applicants," says Richard Gilbert, senior manager at Hays Montrose. "If a candidate with at least five years' experience and the relevant qualification tickets and safety cards comes through our door, we can place them almost right away."

Clients in Docklands commonly request a minimum of five to 10 years experience on similar jobs with a major project, while health and safety cards and a qualification ticket are essential. Following 11 September, clients have become more security-conscious and Hays Montrose has implemented very stringent qualification and reference checks for all our temporary workers. It is now common practice for clients to request five years of references rather than two, and any small holes in CVs need to be checked as every week of candidates' working lives needs to be accountable.

Gilbert adds: "Positions on projects in Docklands are seen to be very prestigious and so are very popular with candidates."