ottawa Construction Recruiter

Construction recruiters know full well that before the parapets, the towers, and the archways, before stained glass and brushed steel, before any iconic part of a building, there is the foundation.  Successful construction companies know that like any great building, you need to start with the foundation.

Construction Recruiters: early Testimonials

“I can honestly say that, although we entered this recruiting exercise with some trepidation, you have more than met our needs and expectations in the conduct of this search.”
“It has been a pleasure working with you over the past several years. Your prompt and efficient service together with a ‘personal touch’ places Perry-Martel leaps and bounds above the competition.”

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Recruiting New Construction Leadership is Critical

Strong leadership is more important than ever. Companies with great leaders significantly outperform their peers. At the same time, globalization, attrition, and changing demographics have led to a scarcity of executives.   As a result, the competition for top leadership talent is fierce.

In spite of this, most recruiters attempt to draw the best talent by focusing on people who are currently looking for work — the ones posting on job boards or responding to job ads. But your goal in hiring an executive isn’t to find the best talent currently looking for work; it’s to find the best talent, period.   And trust us: The best talent isn’t looking for work. They already have a job — a good job.

We understand the main recruitment challenges faced by companies in the large and diverse construction industry, as well as the industry’s profound impact on our economy. It’s not just executive  leadership, a projected shortage in the skilled trades affects bidding on long-term projects. Ottawa’s industry faces intense competition and high risks. However the payoff is tremendous for those who can develop creative solutions. Success is due in large part to securing the right talent, and a well-connected construction recruiters can help, if you want your business to soar!

The key to recruiting successfully now, means going after executives who aren’t looking for work and may not be living in Ottawa.

Construction Recruiting is Our Foundation

As hardcore construction recruiters since 1988, Perry-Martel International has been working with developers, architects, general contractors and trades to help them build the foundation they needed within their executive teams. 

Starting out recruiting a Chief Estimator, Construction Manager and a dozen site personnel, PMI soon performed its first lift-out helping  ramp Citi-Com’s Holland-Cross and World Exchange projects.

Perry-Martel was heavily involved with the Constitution Square project, where Ellis-Don, Canderel, and O.M.E.R.S Realty were all clients on that project. Campeau Corporation’s refurbishment of Place de Ville, lead to larger and more complex Brownfield Projects across Canada and soon Greenfield and Marine projects in the United States and London England (Canary Warf for example). 

The goal in hiring isn’t to find the best talent looking for work… or at least it shouldn’t be…

So what should it be?

Finding the best talent period. 

Today that means recruiting leaders who already have jobs – good jobs.

Recruiting Ottawa Construction Executives: No Longer a Family Affair

For the last half century, demand for executive level construction talent in Ottawa has been relatively quiet in comparison to Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Until recently, most construction projects, be they infrastructure, office, ICI, retail, or home building, were handled by local Ottawa contractors, most were family-owned and operated.

The labor pool ran dry at the executive level about the time Ottawa surpassed the one-million population mark which sparked a residential build emphasis and the infrastructure requirements for the O-Train became known.

Consequently, construction companies of all sizes have needed to start recruiting executive level talent from outside of Ottawa.  In some cases, well established Ottawa construction firms even needed to look outside Canada, as what began as  a trickle quickly became a downpour.  However, that was just the start of the changes to Ottawa’s construction industry.

A Demanding Supply Issue for Ottawa Contractors

Over the  last  three  decades, demographics, attrition, and globalization have profoundly affected the labor supply.  The result: a scarcity of construction talent in Ottawa in general, and executive talent in particular as burgeoning metropolises from Toronto to Dubai, recruited talent for megaprojects.

The competition for the best construction executives is now truly global.

According to according to Build Force Canada, as reported to On-Site Magazine, “An estimated 257,100 workers across Canada will retire in the next decade, roughly 22 per cent of the country’s 2019 construction labour force, while only 227,600 workers will enter the workforce during that same period”.

Meanwhile to the south, 80% of construction firms in one Associated General Contractors of America survey report they too are struggling to fill positions. Seventy-three percent expect the situation to get worse with 45% of them pointing to challenges related to finding skilled workers and Canada is where the US construction companies come first to hire.

Why is This Happening?

In a way, the construction industry is a victim of its own success.

Ottawa has always taken care of its own.  However, in nearly any part of Ottawa you travel you’ll see construction cranes or earth moving equipment. It has grown so quickly in recent years that labor hasn’t been able to keep up—and the construction labor shortage statistics show it. 

Demand has outstripped supply in all  areas of construction including the supporting trades.  Talent at every level is now being imported in to Ottawa.

So too, Ottawa’s red-hot housing market.  Home builders are facing a double challenge: recruiting workers in the face of an increase in demand for labourers in the USA; and maneuvering in a tight market for building.

The Result: A Scarcity of Executive Talent to Hire.

Ottawa reflects a global shortage of leaders  that is driving companies to aggressively seek the best and move more quickly than many Ottawa companies are accustomed to.

In this talent-hungry environment, the rules of recruiting have changed.  It’s no longer enough to passively collect résumés or call an employment agency to  hire a site superintendent. No!

The executives who have the talent you need — who can manage complex projects, bring in  new clients, or lead your organization — are already employed.  They can take their pick of top opportunities and will make a career move only if the opportunity is truly compelling.

Ottawa is on the precipice of the type of exponential growth Toronto has endured from the mid-80s to the present day.  Few Toronto construction companies were prepared to recruit in a candidate driven marketplace. Companies who wait around in the hopes that their ideal executive will miraculously become available precisely when they need them may discover that ‘wishful thinking’  is not a strategy.

“FIT” – Why Attracting the Right Executive is Hard Work

If you want to ensure your company’s survival by hiring great leaders with the ability to lead today’s multi-generational workforce, you’ll need some effective way to find them, to hire them, and to ensure they stick around. Recruiting correctly is hard work and in the years to come, it will only get harder due to three key trends:

  1. Demographics: A lower birth rate in North America combined with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation has resulted in a contraction of available executives. In other words, when an older executive retires, few younger workers are qualified to fill his shoes.
  2. Brain-drain: In the 1980s and 1990s, companies may have saved money by trimming senior management ranks. But that brain drain coupled with attrition robbed them of their ability to grow the next generation of leadership and in Ottawa’s case people have been leaving the city in droves for decades to find work. Recruiting those people back is tricky because wherever they live now – the same problem also exists.
  3. Globalization: Companies in first-world countries have expanded their market around the globe. At the same time, countries that were once considered third-world nations have become economic powerhouses. As a result, the global need for construction executives who can build to North American standards has been pushed beyond our capacity to produce it.

All this is to say that you need to look at executive recruiting a little differently than the average recruiter does.

construction recruiters

Hiring the BEST? It’s Not About Money…

It Never Was. Shocking but true, the BEST executives  will come to an organization not to make more money, but because of what the organization stands for and what it’s going to achieve. Work is personal. To attract the construction industry’s top executives, you need a systematic approach to finding them, engaging their interest, and assessing their alignment with your goals.

Your requirement for people with tenacity, real talent, and dogged determination can only be satisfied by using a recruiter who can match those qualities for your recruitment drive with a system and a process so refined it’s all but invisible.  

Your executive recruiters need to be your “success partners” – people who already know who to talk to,  can cold-call executives where they work, get their attention, raise your proposition above the background noise of the marketplace, keep at it tenaciously for however long it takes – be it weeks or months – and be intelligent enough to present the same opportunity in creative new lights until the persuasion works.

In a word, your success partner has to know your organizational structure creates your business opportunities, and then work with you until you are successful. Knowing what’s important to a construction company means looking beyond job titles and compensation tables, especially in a post COVID world where sudden changes and uncertainty are the norm.

Knowing how to evaluate the worth of someone’s contribution is the important element. Being able to assess a candidate’s star performance capabilities defines the difference between average and extraordinary.


Perry-Martel has developed a unique insight in to the construction industry because of our history with the people and companies that make the news, and because they have always concentrated on the special relationships that clients and candidates form with each other.

You’re not looking  to just fill in a box on your organization chart.  Perry-Martel create value chains between you and your senior staff with a vested interest in your company’s success. Knowing the nuts and bolts of the construction industry is not enough. We take the time to get to know the inner workings of your company: its offerings, people, and culture. This goes beyond skill sets and resumes.

You want professionals who match their values to your value requirements. You should share a similar vision. Only then will there be a successful fit for you and your candidate — and your future growth prospects. 

By conducting a detailed SWOT Analysis, providing the latest innovations in executive recruiting, and creating exclusive business models and processes, Perry-Martel clients benefit from a faster, smoother, and more reliable search process which brings them exactly what’s desired … exceptional leadership.

They fuse strategy, values, and behavioral science with ‘guerrilla marketing tactics‘ to deliver what others say cannot be done, through a uniquely open, honest, and transparent process.  The Inside-Out Methodology ensures you have a strategic partner that is invested in the successful and timely completion of your search. 

If you’re ready to build a winning executive team, stocked with the best talent money alone can’t buy, then  call Perry-Martel International at 613.236.6995.  They guarantee Extraordinary Executive Search and insure your project with a 1-year Guarantee.

Construction & Engineering Case Studies

Ottawa Construction Executive Recruiters for:

Construction & Engineering Roles Recruited