In recent years, a broad and growing skilled labor shortage has made things harder on construction companies. After peak construction employment numbers in the second half of the first decade of the 2000s, the burst housing bubble and economic downturn in the early 2010s led to a major loss of industry jobs. This is just one factor that’s contributed to a shortfall of new craftspeople entering the various skilled labor fields.
Today, construction projects are on the rise and the industry is recovering. But construction companies are increasingly relying on Baby Boomers who are 55 and up to fill jobs. While their experience is valuable, there aren’t enough younger skilled laborers coming up behind them to fill positions when older workers retire.
This has made the job market for skilled workers incredibly competitive. And beyond that, companies invested in their reputation and long-term success understand the importance of attracting and retaining top talent for their workforce.
So, hiring the best skilled workers is a priority, but also a considerable challenge. Below are some tips for pulling it off, even in the face of the current skilled labor shortage.
Tips for Building a Great Workforce
- Create accurate and enticing job descriptions. Hiring the best skilled workers starts with the job ad. The job description should make it clear what certifications, skills, and experience are necessary, and what the responsibilities are. People are much more likely to apply if they feel confident they’re qualified. But job ads should also explain the benefits of working for your company and the position, how the worker contributes to the firm, what opportunities for growth and advancement exist, etc.
- Advertise jobs on social media. The traditional avenues aren’t as useful when it comes to the youngest Gen Xers and Millennials. They’re looking for jobs on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media sites. Many also rely on employment websites. If you want younger, tech-savvy employees, go where they are.
- Offer competitive wages, benefits, and incentives. Obviously, salary is one of the biggest motivators for job seekers. And benefits like healthcare coverage, paid time off, parental leave, and others are always appealing. They can even help make up for a lower salary if you have budget constrictions that don’t allow you to match or exceed some competitors’ salaries.
- Provide professional development opportunities. Apprenticeships, in-house training, paying for continuing education, and other options for building skills attract workers who are eager to learn, grow, and consistently perform to the best of their abilities.
- Establish and show off a positive, engaging company culture. Company culture is extremely important to younger workers. Hiring the best skilled workers and actually keeping them around requires a pleasant, rewarding workplace. And don’t overlook the emphasis today’s younger workers place on environmentally responsible companies. A blog, a Careers page on your website, social media posts, and job ads are all good places to highlight company culture.
- Embrace new technology. Few areas of construction aren’t been changed—or even revolutionized—by technology. The best and brightest of the new crop of skilled laborers have been brought up with the belief that tech is an essential tool for productivity and quality assurance. And they’ve been taught to use it. They’re skeptical of any company that isn’t streamlining and improving its processes with relevant, cutting-edge technology.
- Don’t wait long to contact promising candidates. Many companies accumulate applications for a while and then start sorting through them. In such a competitive job market, though, qualified applicants get snatched up quickly. If you see someone you like, don’t sit around hoping someone better comes along; get in touch promptly.
- Ask your employees to leave reviews on employer review websites. Today’s younger job seekers check sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to see what current and former employees say about working for you. Having positive reviews goes a long way toward encouraging the best skilled laborers to apply for and accept a position at your company.