Paul France and Steve Glands from recruitment consultants Hays Montrose discuss the regeneration jobs boom …
Has the regeneration sector been growing over the last few years because of the influx of government funding?

Yes, it is also becoming a recognised profession as directorates form around regeneration activities, and universities begin to provide specialist courses for those students wishing to enter the sector.

Despite this, the definition of a regeneration specialist is still vague because of the number of different skills, qualifications and specialisations, as well as the number of issues that the discipline endeavours to cover. It is also important to realise that the injection of funding is from central, local, European government as well as other sources such as the National Lottery and the voluntary sector.

Has this increased the number of jobs available in the sector?

Yes, experts from both the physical and social sides of regeneration are still in short supply. This shortage is mirrored in many related disciplines/sectors including housing, social inclusion, environmental, economic development, master planning, criminology, education, planning, surveying and engineering. Demand still outstrips quality supply. With continued public investment in education and the upskilling of communities, we hope that the trend may begin to even out. However, literally every day we come across a new job description such as a “Traders Ranger” for which no experts exist.

Is regeneration a vibrant area to work in at the moment, and if so why?

Regeneration is the latest buzzword and trend. The variety of roles enables construction professionals to display their full potential and engage their skills without becoming pigeon-holed. Many people find this a more rewarding sector to work in. However, many skilled individuals simply do not know how to navigate the complex regeneration scene and therefore choose not to get involved.

Why do private companies want to hire people with public sector experience?

People who have worked in the public sector often have the best understanding of the amazingly complex funding system. And those people with experience in the public sector will have ground level information about the community’s needs and the problems that regeneration programmes encounter. They may also have a strong and influential network that provides a scheme a better chance of achieving its objectives within the timeframes and budgets.

What differences might a public sector employee find if they moved to a private company involved in regeneration?

The public sector employee may find the usual differences, tighter budgets, timescales, more design input and perhaps less room to hide. They will also find that holiday and pension benefits will potentially be replaced by share options and bonuses. They will also have to take into account profit margins while ensuring that the brief is still met to an acceptable standard.

However, the movement is both ways with a migration of private sector workers to the public sector. Mainly because the public sector controls the purse strings and ultimately facilitates the consultative roles, especially at the senior end of the scale. Also, many candidates like to have direct contact with the communities that they are trying to assist.

The public sector has a lot more medium-term roles to suit contractors or workers with visa restrictions, for these reasons the public sector is able to attract large numbers of skilled labour.

Could you describe some of the most common jobs for construction personnel within regeneration?

Master planner, project manager, architect, town planner, environmental specialist, development planner, surveyor, project officer, technical director, regeneration officer … The list is endless!

Are there any special skills/qualifications that could benefit people wanting to work in regeneration?

Knowledge of social inclusion issues and the urban agenda, experience of planning, project management, surveying, liaison, the consultation process, fundraising, project management, budget management, criminology, sustainable development, environmental improvement, negotiation skills.

What would your advice be to someone who’s interested in working in the regeneration field?

Speak to us; alternatively the internet is a

good place to start researching. However, due to the complexity and diversity of the market, specialist recruitment consultants are a good source of advice.