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Supporting thousands of job opportunities across HS2’s supply chain

About the client

HS2 is a state-of-the-art, high-speed line critical for the UK’s low carbon transport future. It will provide much-needed rail capacity across the country and is integral to rail projects in the North and Midlands – helping rebalance the UK economy. HS2 plays a vital role in the UK Government’s Plan for Jobs to protect, support, and create employment.

About the project

As full construction starts on HS2, thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities have been created. 15,000 jobs are already supported by HS2 and over the coming years HS2 will create over 22,000 job roles including apprentices, engineers, and project managers. Studio 24 worked with HS2 to develop a Job Brokerage platform, which brings together all HS2-related jobs from all contractors across the country.

We built the admin system in Laravel, with the application data also presented on HS2’s WordPress site. The site launched in January 2021.

HS2 Job Brokerage website, displayed on a laptop.

Project goals

The purpose of this tool is to make the roles more accessible to job applicants, to promote diverse roles that relate to the construction of HS2, and to demonstrate HS2 as an industry leader.

The Job Brokerage platform will:

  • Bring together all the job opportunities within the supply chain for the first time.
  • Make it easier for applicants to search and apply for jobs.
  • Be intuitive to use for the stakeholders: employers, partners, and admins.
  • Provide HS2 with insight into job creation across the supply chain.

Bringing all job opportunities together

HS2’s construction partners, who are supporting the delivery of the new railway, have some of the biggest recruitment opportunities in the industry. Each construction partner is advertising their roles on their own platforms, which can make it challenging for job applicants to know about all of the job opportunities that are available.

The new Job Brokerage platform brings all HS2-related job opportunities together, gives all construction partners an equal opportunity to promote their job vacancies in one place, and makes it much easier for someone interested in working for HS2 to find employment.

We started this project by thinking about the user experience for job seekers and we wanted the job postings to be presented in a consistent way. A lot of the job opportunities are automatically pulled into the website via Application Tracking Systems (ATS) – most construction partners use these, and there is a wide variety of ATSs, so each one presents the job data in a different format. Achieving consistency was a challenge.

Each time we integrated an ATS for an employer, we needed a piece of bespoke development to get them all to work in the same way.

We had to do so many integrations with different types of technologies and methods to compile the data. The principle was the same, but each ATS had its own little challenge.

We established a general set of information to match each piece of the ATS data which made the jobs listing consistent and easy to use. This extra development work was worth it as it allows us to incorporate any new ATS more easily into the brokerage platform and focus just on the specifics of each system.

Maria Beznea
Maria Beznea, Studio 24

Location data is one example of where we had to develop some clever coding to create consistency. Some suppliers use broad categories for the location of a role, such as a UK region, whereas others use a city or precise area name. After discussion with the client, we decided to use regions for the platform. If suppliers used a city or area name our code would interpret the data and change the presentation to a region. So Euston, for example, would automatically be changed to Greater London.

Make it easier for applicants to search and apply for jobs

Any and all job seekers can search the jobs posted on the Job Brokerage platform by visiting the listing page on the HS2 website – no login is required. The website makes it easier for applicants to find jobs within the wider supply chain by bringing all opportunities together.

Applicants can segment jobs by two key factors: location and job category. If the user wants to apply for a job they will then be directed to the employer’s website where they can submit an application.

The job listing is updated every 30 minutes, so job seekers have opportunities that are as up-to-date as possible. Jobs are ordered chronologically with the most recently published at the top. This is helpful for frequent visitors.

We designed the search page to be clean and easy to use for all job seekers.

Isaac Lowe
Isaac Lowe, Studio 24

Intuitive to use for the stakeholders

We designed the website admin system to be very simple and intuitive as it would be used by a wide variety of people with different levels of digital experience.

The website had to work for four main user groups. These users have logins and depending on their role, they have different access to the website.

Jobs brokerage partners: these partners, for example County Councils, offer support to job seekers – especially under-represented and disadvantaged groups. Brokerage partners can download a CSV file of opportunities. These results can be filtered, for example by Job Category or Location.

Contributors: are the employers across the supply chain. We made it easy for the employers by automating the process for adding jobs through the ATS integrations, which pulls job information from all employer websites to the HS2 Job Brokerage platform. Or jobs can be added manually using a straightforward online form. Jobs will automatically be unpublished once the closing date for applications has been reached.

Admins: are staff at HS2 who can add new contributors, and view results for how the platform is being used.

Super users: are staff at HS2 who can do everything an admin can do, plus create new users on the platform.

It was very important that these stakeholders were onboarded to use the website. We carried out individual training sessions for numerous suppliers, job brokerage partners, and HS2 admins to make sure everyone was comfortable with the functionality. We also produced a comprehensive user guide document, for reference and to guide those that couldn’t attend the training.

Tracking job creation

HS2 is committed to facilitating the creation of 22,000 jobs and the Job Brokerage platform gives them insight into job creation across the supply chain.

To apply for a job, applicants will click through from the either Job Brokerage platform or the HS2 website to the specific job on the employer’s website. The employers have implemented tracking within their own systems so the submitted applications and successful hires can be traced back to HS2.

Within the platform, we have built a dashboard for displaying usage data. The HS2 admins can track how many times a job has been clicked on and how many new jobs have been added each day, with all data kept anonymous to ensure GDPR compliance. Data is presented in a graph to be viewed on screen and is updated in real-time. This gives an instant visual account of any impact of activities such as PR initiatives and promotional campaigns. Data can also be exported in a CSV file.

After the closing date, jobs are unpublished rather than deleted. HS2 will be able to access the data about how many people have clicked on a job and they will build a large data set over time. They will draw on this data to understand the way the Job Brokerage platform has been used and how this has benefited recruitment within the construction industry.

The results

During 2021

99,965 clicks on job posts

67,331 job board page views

2,154 jobs posted