Hiring Skilled Construction Laborers During the Great Resignation

April 24, 2022
construction worker on site

How to find workers in construction for your job sites

This year alone, it is estimated that 1.2 million construction workers will leave the construction industry. And while the Census Bureau expects that 1.3 million workers will transition from other industries into a construction job, labor shortages, high demand, and the Great Resignation are creating overlapping challenges for construction firms of all sizes.

For construction managers, general contractors, and subcontractors, the quality and consistency of labor is the core component of delivering a project. Finding and keeping the most skilled craft professionals, project managers, and superintendents is what ensures estimates are correct, workmanship is high quality, and clients are happy with the results.

We’ve gathered tried and true methods on how to find skilled workers in construction, as well as on how to create a team that sticks around and shows up with their best work!

Retain Before You Recruit New Construction Laborers

Any business owner or Human Resources director will tell you that is almost always better to keep an existing employee rather than spending the time and money to recruit someone new. The construction industry has one of the highest turnover rates, and it increases with injury-prone trades and younger employees.

One of the best ways to create an engaging work environment is to focus on feedback and communication. Is there a clear way for your employees to share their experiences? Most of the benefits of remote work may not apply to on-site construction work, but the remote revolution has created many options for team communication, anonymous feedback, and virtual hangouts between sites. Your company can also implement a recognition system, so even small wins are celebrated and your team members know their value.

We’re Hiring!

These days, posting a sign in your window probably isn’t the best approach, so how do you let people know you are hiring? First, stop to think about your job descriptions beyond the physical tasks you are asking someone to complete. What leadership skills will someone gain in this role? Is your company offering a unique service where a team member can gain experience? How quickly can someone move from an entry-level position into a more senior role? Is there a mentoring or apprenticeship structure? Write your job descriptions with these details to catch the attention of people who are looking for a career instead of just a quick job.

Once your job description is top notch (and make sure you check it for typos!), here are your next steps:

  • Make sure your company website has a careers page with all open roles and their descriptions, as well as a link or an easy way for interested job seekers to apply
  • Post it to your company social media accounts, and also encourage employees to share the job posting on their personal accounts to reach a wider network
  • Create a job listing on industry-specific job boards like ConstructionJobs.com
  • List your open roles on more general job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed, especially if you’re looking to fill any kind of management positions
  • Check in with your local construction or trade association to see if they have a job board or email newsletter where you can post your jobs

Also, don’t forget about more traditional ways of promoting job openings; tell people (via email, text, on the phone, or even in person) that you are hiring! When you are talking with other contractors and suppliers, or even clients and friends, be sure to mention that you are looking for specific trade labor. You never know who may have a friend or family member to refer.

Benefits Beyond Paychecks

What We’ve Learned from the Great Resignation and What You Can Do

Like we mentioned before, professionals from other industries who are considering a move to a construction role are looking not just for a job, but for a career path. What benefits do you include to help propel your employees forward? Personal benefits like health insurance, childcare, and PTO can help make it possible for more people to join your team. But you also want to consider opportunities for ongoing training and certifications in specific trades, as well as soft skills like communication and team management. Can you send two people from your team to a conference each year? Are there remote classes that your company can offer as continuing education? Show your team that you value them, not just now, but into the future.

Training New Skilled Construction Workers

One large pipeline into the construction workforce are young people coming into a career in construction for the first time. There are training programs in high schools and colleges for trades like HVAC, carpentry, and welding, as well as general construction management. Be sure to reach out to, and even partner with, those programs so they know you are willing to hire graduates. Your company can also offer its own internal training, whether with a union or association, or with an apprenticeship model. When you publicize this type of investment in your crew, future recruits will take notice.

Use Expert Estimating Services

Keeping your company and processes on the leading edge of technology is one of the best ways to recruit talented and career-focused individuals to your team. The investment in an expert estimating service like 1build can free up time and make it much easier for you to hire the right people onto your full time staff.

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