With the recent Deloitte crane survey tracking 'unprecedented levels' of construction in Manchester, it's clear to see that the billions of pounds' worth of investment in the North West frequently mentioned in the media is translating into the biggest transformation of the city in its recent history.
Projects under construction range from the Terminal 2 Expansion at Manchester Airport (£1b) (coupled with the new £800m "Airport City" next door) to the Owen Street development on Mancunian Way, a residential development which includes what will be the tallest skyscraper outside London (64 storeys).
In residential alone, 11,000 units are under construction across 41 developments in Manchester. That's an increase of 60% since 2017. There is approval for 20 more major residential projects to kick off this year, with enormous projects moving into construction, such as the St John's development (£1b; 2,500 homes) and the Trinity Islands towers (£1.3b; 1390 homes) which includes a tower to overtake Owen Street One when built, at 67 storeys.
This growth inevitably comes with some potentially dramatic changes to the job market. White-collar construction professionals are becoming increasingly difficult to find and the competition in the market is forcing up salaries, creating better benefits and causing an influx of freelance contract labour to supplement teams that are being simply too stretched to deliver their workload.
Recruitment policies need to keep up; and businesses that are unwilling to buck the trends that have been set during the quiet years since the recession will be - and are being - left behind, as the best skilled workers are snapped up by businesses offering more than their competitors.
Workers who have historically been tempted by salaries & day rates in London - and who travel away from their families to achieve them - are beginning to see the appeal of being back up North. Salaries are no longer vastly different to the South for many positions and the North has never been more open to freelance contractors, who have typically had to slot into the London market to secure decent day rates.
2017 was the best year in construction in the North West for over a decade, and 2018 is shaping up to become even better. If you're interested in seeing for yourself how this could make you better off, get in touch with me on 0161 832 1378 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org