No matter the size of the organization or sector, employers are finding it difficult to acquire and keep talented personnel. As the construction sector is predicted to continue to expand in the next few years, construction firms and contractors are facing an employee shortfall and struggle to find individuals who can satisfy the sector‘s needs. Today, we highlight the most recent recruitment investigations, detail the conditions that have led to the current shortage of employees, and proposes advice to employers in order to draw in and hold onto talented workers.
Factors in Today’s Labor Market
One of the causes of today‘s employment issues is the predicted growth in the industry. The recently passed $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is expected to be partly responsible for this growth, as infrastructure throughout the nation will be renewed. Despite the encouraging industry demand, companies need to hire trained personnel to satisfy the growing demand. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts an increase of 7% in construction jobs between 2020 and 2030, while Associated Builders and Contractors estimates that the industry needs an additional 650,000 employees by 2022. In addition, an investment of one billion dollars in construction can generate 3,900 new jobs, according to ABC. Moreover, a large part of the current workers in the sector are about to retire in the next ten years; the National Center for Construction Education and Research reports that 41% of the current workforce will have left by 2031. Furthermore, fewer young people are joining or staying in the industry, as there has been more emphasis on higher education than the trades in the last few decades. On top of that, many of the experienced staff have managerial positions. Consequently, employers will have to look for new workers, but also for leaders to keep up their operations and to preserve institutional knowledge.
The construction industry is facing a difficult challenge when it comes to hiring workers, due to high rates of turnover and the effects of the pandemic. Many workers have chosen to leave their current field or switch to a different sector, leaving a small pool of those with specialized skills to choose from. This has made it more difficult for construction companies and contractors to find suitable employees.
In early 2022, more than 150 employers from various industries, including construction, participated in the Zywave Attraction and Retention Employer Pulse Survey. The results of the survey revealed that many organizations are having a hard time recruiting new employees, with over 90% of employers reporting some difficulty. Additionally, 58% of employers indicated they are having trouble retaining current employees. Furthermore, 81% of employers declared that employee attraction and retention is a top–five business challenge and anticipate it will remain a major obstacle in the future.
Construction leaders are striving to overcome the difficulties of luring and retaining employees, which include raising salaries to meet current expectations, bridging gaps in competencies, giving more generous benefits, and satisfying desires for flexible work options such as remote, hybrid, or part–time hours.
The challenges in the construction industry have a major influence on talent strategies. The main needs of modern workers are attractive pay, good benefits, and the possibility of flexible hours. However, employers have their own desired qualities in employees, such as experience, dependability, and professionalism. Additionally, roughly one-fourth of the respondents indicated that knowledge and technical skills are the qualities they are searching for, meaning they would prefer to hire people with the necessary personal traits and then provide them with technical training.
Employee Attraction and Retention Tips
Finding and keeping qualified personnel for construction companies is and will remain a major problem. The construction sector is facing a difficult time acquiring competent personnel who can meet the current and future labor needs, and there is no simple response to the various reasons why this is happening.
To replace employees who have retired, moved to other construction positions, or left the industry, employers must come up with inventive ways to acquire and retain workers. Here are some suggestions to bear in mind:
Expand Recruitment Tactics
Employers in the construction industry should look into the most advantageous methods of finding suitable job seekers and increasing their applicant pool. Millennials and Generation Z are the generations currently in the job market, so new recruitment strategies should be implemented to target them. Women are underrepresented in the construction sector, in comparison to other key industries, representing only 10% of the workforce, which presents an opportunity to enlarge the talent pool.
There is not one single technique that will work across the board. But employers can look into using social media platforms, going to job fairs, and talking to people at high schools, trade schools, technical schools, and universities to better cater to both existing and potential markets for talent. As the job market evolves, traditional recruitment approaches may not be as effective as they once were.
Invest in Training Opportunities
Companies can offer learning and development chances to both old and new staff members to fill the space in skills left by retiring personnel. The construction field necessitates employees to possess special know–how, and the work comes with a variety of safety risks. Offering learning experiences may be a method to draw in young workers and assist them in crafting a career in the construction industry. Examples of such learning and development opportunities include:
- Employee training – Companies should consider offering learning and development opportunities to both longtime staff and newly–hired people in order to fill in any skills gaps left in the wake of retiring workers. Education can center around specific aptitudes, modern technology, or safety measures. It is important to determine which skills have been vacated following retirement, as the need to redo work can be a costly issue in the construction industry. Proper instruction can help to avoid such issues.
- Hands-on training through active participation can be the most effective way of teaching since employees are likely to remember the experience more clearly. As soon as any new technology is employed in the workplace, employers should give employees the opportunity to get to grips with it, so that supervisors can identify any potential areas of difficulty before any mistakes occur.
- Online training can help workers become aware of health and safety guidelines quickly and securely. Safety is a top priority in the construction business. Through virtual training, employees can assess their abilities and understanding and retake lessons as necessary to be knowledgeable and relaxed with safety regulations and rules.
- Simulated training, including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), can give practical practice without putting workers in danger. Employees can make use of VR to find out how to manage remote–controlled heavy machinery without damaging materials or causing harm to personnel. Moreover, businesses could take advantage of AR to let teams learn how to mend machinery or other vital mechanical parts.
- Mentoring programs can train fresh employees for positions of authority in the future and help in the distribution of experience from experienced personnel.
- Leadership development programs may be beneficial for employees who are looking to move into a managerial position. The change to becoming a supervisor can be a considerable challenge for many.
Promote Trade Workers
Promoting skilled trade personnel from within the company to managerial roles can be beneficial for both employee morale and the creation of clear career paths. Organizations can take advantage of employees who have previously worked in entry–level or lower–level positions, as these employees are often familiar with the job and can make great supervisors and leaders. Furthermore, it is essential to highlight these opportunities when recruiting and take advantage of them as enticements for potential employees.
Compensation and Benefits Strategies
No matter what kind of job it is, employees are searching for competitive salaries and benefits. If raises or sign–on bonuses are not possible, a benefits package could be a great incentive for certain individuals. Offering disability and life insurance can demonstrate to construction workers that employers are concerned about their health and well–being. To help with employee retention, employers may want to consider health and wellness programs to support workers in their professional and personal lives.
Employees in the construction industry are given the opportunity to take control of their work and determine how and when it should be completed. This type of freedom and flexibility can be beneficial for workers as the industry is usually quite rigid and requires a great deal of problem–solving.
Construction employers should explore possibilities to reduce the level of close supervision and concentrate on regulations rather than procedures. Allowing employees to manage their own work and gain meaning from their everyday tasks can create trust. This type of autonomy could help workers, especially those with less experience, to feel more competent sooner, boosting both confidence and responsibility. Accountability and autonomy are important tools to draw and keep skilled employees in the modern labor market.
Finding and keeping construction workers is always a challenge. The pandemic has only made this more difficult, as experienced employees have either retired or looked for other jobs. With the need for construction workers growing faster than the supply of qualified personnel, businesses must be creative in their attempts to fill positions in the current competitive job market. Contact us for more information about how to attract and retain workers.