How HS2 will impact hiring in the Midlands and North-West

23
March

Posted by David O'Connell

As HS2 finally gets the go-ahead from the UK Government, it’s set to have a sizeable impact on jobs and hiring in the Midlands and North-West.

After taking several years to get to this stage, with more than its fair share of controversy, HS2 is now happening. For many, it’s too expensive to build, a disaster for the environment or something we don’t need in the first place, but it’s also clear that HS2 will bring many important benefits, both whilst it’s being built and following its completion. Linking major northern cities to London by high-speed rail has the potential to revolutionise and revitalise the economy in these regions, which has been long overdue.  

HS2: The facts

HS2 will link London with the major cities of the Midlands and North. Trains on the route will be able to travel at speeds of up to 250 mph, cutting the journey time between London and Manchester by 50 minutes.

Building HS2 is a massive undertaking, one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever attempted in the UK. The budget is estimated to climb as high as £100 billion by the time of completion. It’s hoped that trains will be able to run on the new line from 2026, but it will not be delivered fully until 2040.

Construction is scheduled to take place in two phases, with building on the London to Birmingham line starting immediately. The second phase, connecting Birmingham to Manchester in the North-West and Leeds to the North-East, will then be built, according to the Government. However, the exact details are still under review.

HS2 aims to transform the business communities in the North of England by linking them closer to London’s business hub, while freeing up capacity on the Northern cities’ existing lines.

Impact on jobs

HS2 will have a dramatic impact on jobs and hiring in the Midlands and North-West regions. It will happen in two ways:

  • Building HS2 creates numerous project-based jobs
  • After the build, there will be more jobs available in the cities, as they become increasingly more attractive places for companies to operate in

Let’s look at these in turn.

Building HS2

This massive infrastructure project is estimated to generate c.25,000 jobs during construction, with an additional 2,000 apprenticeships. Then, once HS2 is up and running, the government expects that up to 100,000 jobs will be generated within the wider economy, as transport capacity is increased and journey times slashed.

Some of the kinds of roles that HS2 will create are construction workers, engineers, transport workers, project managers, architects and administrators. There will also be a need for people to design and build the new trains, new station facilities and more.

Once the line is fully operational, there will be positions available for drivers, station staff, administrators and retail workers etc.

Changing the face of UK cities

On completion, HS2 will connect eight out of the UK’s 10 biggest cities, and therefore free up space on existing rail services, making commuting into these cities easier. This will, in turn, make it more attractive for entrepreneurs to start and run businesses, as well as making these cities a likely prospect for larger companies looking to relocate out of London.

In anticipation of HS2, there has already been a migration of global blue-chip brands to the Midlands and North-West, including:

  • HSBC, PWC and Deutsche Bank in Birmingham
  • KPMG and HP in Manchester

These companies are attracted to these areas by a large, well-educated workforce. Once HS2 has improved their transport links, the sky really is the limit. The number of jobs created in these central and northern cities will be considerable.

David O'Connell, Founding Director of Bila Group, is excited about the opportunity this provides for those working in the industry, “We’ve been speaking with many clients that are preparing for large scale hiring to support this project. Finding the right people for the available jobs will be critical in ensuring such a significant and complex project is delivered on time and within the estimated budget.”

Hiring challenges

Securing talented people on this dramatic scale is a challenge. Organisations involved in the construction of HS2 need to find people with the right skills already living in these locations, or they’ll need to entice people to relocate. This won’t be easy.

There’s a significant opportunity here for recruitment agencies to position themselves as a solution to the specific set of challenges this project brings. Recruitment companies have the skills, the networks and the experience to fulfil against such high-volume hiring projects.

If recruiters can meet these challenges, the process of building and maintaining HS2 will run much more smoothly, ensuring the Midlands and North-West can reap the rewards it brings.

Find out more

Contact David O’Connell at Bila Group doc@bila-group.com, +44 (0)113 733 0551