Robert Smith of Hays Construction & Property takes a look at the long list of job opportunities in the east of the capital
"We have six years to regenerate east London." So said Tony Blair, referring to the date that is uppermost in the minds of most people working in the region. Winning the Olympics has had a tremendous effect on the area, but there is a huge level of unrelated construction activity as well. Over the next 10 years, there will be 10,000 homes built in Barking alone, Europe's largest port built in Tilbury, the rest of the Thames Gateway, the Whipps Cross refurbishment, Stansted Airport's new runway, Crossrail, and vast hospital projects in Mile End and Romford. So, there's going to be plenty of work around - and, if you were to move there, the chances are that your house price will increase massively, too.
What's going on?
All of the above. Billions of pounds are being spent in the area; indeed, the Thames Gateway work alone will cost about £2bn. The PFI Romford hospital project, involving the design of an acute 800-bed hospital, is valued at £200m.
Michael Piper, manager of Hays Construction & Property, says: "The challenge will be to source suitably qualified candidates, given that there are so many projects taking place at the same time."
Good for …
There is a particular demand for quantity surveyors and project QSs. Also short on supply are contracts managers, estimators and design engineers. Hays recently filled a position for a housing contracts manager, which required five years' experience in housing, new-build or refurbishment. The chosen candidate exceeded the criteria and received a salary of £43,000 with a generous package, including a company car. Piper says: "The position was relatively easy to fill because the work involved a number of localised projects. They are a big draw to tempt candidates to relocate or commute greater distances."
Bad for …
Nobody, really. Job opportunities for construction and property professionals are on a scale never known in the area before. All disciplines and levels of experience are in demand in order to complete the projects on time and on budget.
How much would I get paid?
However, generally speaking, the close proximity to central London ensures salaries remain high compared with the rest of the UK. Employers are reluctant to force salaries up by engaging in bidding wars, but the likelihood of increasing volumes of work will cause salaries to rise further. Labourers' pay rates have already risen slightly, although tradesmen are not yet enjoying the pay rises that other disciplines are. House prices remain relatively low for greater London, ensuring that salaries can stretch even further.
How far would my salary go?
- Price of a pint of Carling (the local bestseller): £1.79
- A night at the dogs in Walthamstow (scampi and chips included): £11.50
- Ticket to a West Ham home game: £30
- Average price of a house in Stratford: £224,062