While it is difficult for companies to fill any position right now, construction companies are finding it especially challenging to recruit skilled workers. In a recent report from the Associated General Contractors of America, more than 50 percent of construction companies said they are having difficulties staffing both salaried and hourly trade positions.
The report said the reason for these difficulties is systemic: Fewer young people are getting into the skilled trades because they are simply not as popular as they were decades ago. The typical high school student today usually plans on going to a four-year college, as opposed to a two-year trade school. As a result, the demand for skilled tradespeople is far higher than the supply. With a large segment of workers in the skilled trades industry set to retire by the middle of the next decade, the competition for these professionals will only intensify over the coming years.
Therefore, it is critical for construction companies to take a long-term, proactive approach to recruiting the talent they need in order to sustain operations. From leveraging automation to working with a construction staffing agency, the following five strategies are designed to help construction job recruiters in Wichita and the surrounding areas.
#1 Leverage Automation and Technology When Hiring Construction Workers
For many years, construction companies simply relied on old recruitment strategies and industry momentum to keep their labor force fully staffed. Many companies are also looking at immediate labor needs, and this makes them less likely to look at younger, less experienced generations of workers.
Unfortunately, these legacy approaches are no longer adequate when it comes to recruiting the next generation of tradespeople. Millennials and Gen Z workers aren’t connected to the old talent pipelines, and they aren’t particularly drawn to careers involving machinery or older technology.
If your company is looking to increase its recruitment of younger generations, you have to meet them where they’re at: on mobile devices and social media. Social networks can help a company connect to potential candidates on a personal level. While having a presence on LinkedIn is an absolute must, construction companies should also take advantage of sites like Instagram and Facebook.
Construction companies should also be embracing modern HR technology for their recruitment process. While older generations may cringe at the idea of using web portals for an application or receiving automated emails, younger generations are used to interacting with web-based, automated systems. Modern, automated HR platforms also allow a company and construction staffing agencies to maintain relationships with applicants who were not chosen for a position. This allows the company to maintain a pool of talent that can be accessed when needed.
Construction companies should also consider adopting modern technology, not only to boost capabilities and productivity, but also for recruitment benefits. Digital design technology, drones, laser scanners, 3D printing, and robotics are all becoming quite common in the construction industry. Companies that don’t embrace this technology risk losing out on younger generations of talent that expect digital technology to be part of their career.
#2 Recruiting for Diversity in the Construction Industry
In addition to fighting the image that the construction industry is outdated compared to other sectors, construction job recruiters must also push back against the idea that there is a lack of diversity in construction. To be fair, women and minority groups are underrepresented. The construction industry is currently in a dialogue about supporting recruiting for diversity, but individual companies must do their part and appeal to people from these backgrounds. With the industry facing labor shortages, appealing to these groups should be seen as an opportunity, not just a social obligation.
There is a major opportunity around recruiting more women into the construction industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women represent only about 10 percent of the skilled trades workforce. However, companies looking to recruit more women must speak to their needs. In a survey of tradeswomen who left the industry, more than two-thirds said they left due to a lack of childcare.
Companies looking to diversify their talent pool should also take a long-term approach to talent development. A modern talent pipeline should be connected to both community groups, educational institutions, and trade programs. When this kind of talent pipeline is built, it can help support a company’s talent needs far into the future.
If your company already has outreach and workforce development initiatives, look for ways to strengthen them. If your company isn’t currently engaged in these initiatives, it is time to start developing them.
In addition to making structural changes that will support greater diversity, companies also need to change perceptions by representing inclusion in their messaging. Social media, marketing, and recruitment efforts should use imagery that features people from many different genders, races, orientations, and abilities. It is also important to use inclusive language that doesn’t assume anything about people working in the industry.
#3 Optimize Job Descriptions for Construction Workers
It’s well known that skilled construction workers can earn a good wage. These professionals are in demand and because of this they can command a good rate of pay.
However, good middle-class pay isn’t enough on its own to attract enough talent to the industry. Therefore, companies recruiting construction workers should optimize their job descriptions to highlight the various benefits of a career in the skilled trades.
One of the biggest unsung benefits of being a trades person is career security. Because tradespeople are in such demand, they never have to worry about long unwanted stretches of unemployment. They also have more options when it comes to potential employers. These career benefits can be particularly attractive for millennials and Gen Zers, who have grown up in the era of offshoring and downsizing.
Additionally, there is significant room for advancement and specialization. Skilled tradespeople who gain in-demand niche abilities can make even more money and have even more freedom. Skilled tradespeople can also strike out on their own, allowing them to make their own schedules and choose the projects that they work on.
Construction work can also have significant meaning, and this aspect of the industry can be particularly appealing to Millennials. Surveys regularly show that Millennials want to do work that has meaning, and construction projects can leave a lasting legacy. Construction projects can also have a major positive impact on the surrounding community. It can be incredibly rewarding to build something with your own hands and watch it change a neighborhood or community for the better.
When it comes to these intangible benefits, construction job recruiters can do a much better job selling them to potential candidates.
#4 Utilize an Employee Referral Program for Construction Recruitment
Most construction companies have a network of employees, clients, suppliers, subcontractors, and other individuals. Every single one of these people has their own individual network, and not tapping into these networks is a massive, missed opportunity for any company recruiting construction workers. Research has found that referred employees tend to last longer with an employer than people who were recruited through online job sites. Referred candidates also tend to get hired much faster than non-referred candidates, which significantly reduces hiring overhead. An employee referral program even benefits and existing workforce, as referring employees tend to stick with a company longer compared to employees who haven’t referred a hired candidate.
Companies looking to attract skilled workers should have an employee referral program that is designed to meet this goal. The referral program itself should be fairly simple and employees should receive a bit of training on how to use it. Companies using an employee referral program should follow up on every referral, or else they risk having employees become disenfranchised with the initiative. It is also important to keep employees engaged with the program by regularly informing them about open positions. Finally, an employee recognition program should provide incentives that employees actually want and getting employee feedback on the types of incentives is a great way to do this.
#5 Work with Construction Recruitment Specialists
Construction staffing agencies are up on the latest hiring trends in the industry because it is part of their overall mission. These companies have access to a wide range of talent in the area, including those working in the skilled trades. Construction job recruiters use their knowledge and networks to match companies with exceptional talent, quickly, allowing them to take on the next project without wasting any time.
Construction staffing agencies in Wichita are specifically plugged into the city and surrounding areas. They understand the local markets and in-demand skills for the area.
Top Notch Personnel is a Leading Construction Staffing Agency in Wichita
Many staffing agencies in Wichita specialize in certain areas, and Top Notch Personnel is a construction staffing agency that area companies have depended on for years.
When meeting the needs of our clients, we prioritize speed, accuracy, service, and integrity. We understand the unique labor challenges that construction companies face and have years of experience providing long-term workforce solutions. Please contact us today to find out how we can empower your construction company with a custom workforce solution.