Health and Safety Job Market 2016 - Predictions and Advice

Expectations and predictions for the health and safety job market in 2016 along with advice and guidance on preparing to make a career move in the New Year.

Following my recent overview of the Health and Safety job market in 2015, this follow-up article will outline market expectations and predictions for 2016 and offer advice on how to develop your career in the year ahead.

It’s been a great start to the year with new job registrations up by over 30% on the same period last year. Many of our clients are making plans and thinking about the skills, experience and resources they will need to support their organisations in the year ahead. More often than not, we are finding that our clients are recruiting to meet strategic objectives and growth plans rather than focusing only on maintaining minimum staffing levels. Supported by an increasingly positive market outlook, we expect this proactive approach to continue throughout 2016, driven by major infrastructure projects which are creating new opportunities across a range of industry sectors.

As organisations recruit to support business growth, this recruitment activity creates further vacancies and market movement, and with a limited number of suitably qualified and experienced Health and Safety professionals, recruitment becomes more difficult as the skills shortage begins to bite. Whilst this is great news for Health and Safety professionals looking for a career move, it can place additional pressure on under-staffed Health and Safety departments and this lack of resource can actually lead to more people leaving. In order to retain staff and maintain a stable team, it’s essential that employers are benchmarking salaries with the wider industry and providing staff with sufficient resources and professional development opportunities.

We predict a further increase in demand for Health and Safety professionals to work on a contract and interim basis to support growth, provide additional resource during the recruitment process and to manage particular projects. Many of our clients now view professional contractors as an integral part of their business, as organisations and end-clients increasingly require flexibility and specialist skills on a short-term basis.

Business growth, a busy job market and a shortage of professional skills and experience will put additional pressure on hiring managers and recruiters to attract the best people. We expect average salaries to increase by 5-10% over the course of the year, with the highest increases likely in the construction and property consultancy sector. 

When you are thinking about looking for a new job in 2016, it’s essential that you first have a clear idea of your career and professional development objectives. Keeping an eye on the job market and attending industry events can help to give you a clear idea of the direction you would like your career to take. Once your objectives are in place, the next step is to speak with your employer about your career aspirations to see whether your current role can offer these opportunities.

If you do decide to look for a new job, before you start to make application, you should ensure that your professional memberships are up-to-date, get on top of CPD and have a clear development plan in place for any further training or qualifications you would like to undertake. Taking control of your professional development and thinking about your career objectives will help to focus your job search and demonstrate your commitment to career development.

There’s lots of advice available from various sources on how to write a good CV, but essentially you need to give a clear overview of your career so far, your qualifications, professional memberships and current contact details.  Most people begin their job search online, using various job boards to respond to direct employer and agency adverts, but whilst online applications are quick and easy, you need to think about how you will present your CV to the market. Always remain focused, applying only for suitable positions, keeping track of your applications and working with one or two specialist agencies to maintain confidentiality and maximise market exposure whilst retaining control over the application process.

Steven Bryan is a Director at the specialist health and safety recruitment company Bryan & Armstrong. /

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