For nearly a decade now, the construction industry has experienced a significant shortage in its workforce. After the housing bust in the mid-2000s, the availability of a skilled labor force took a sharp nosedive and things have been difficult throughout the industry ever since. In a recent study, 70% of construction firms polled reported having difficulty finding workers to fill regular hourly positions.
Skilled labor is still hard to find in 2018, and businesses across the home improvement industry are struggling to make ends meet with fewer construction workers on site. While a nationwide increase in numbers would be the ideal solution to this problem, thankfully there are other, more immediate ways to cope in this difficult climate. If you’re feeling the worker shortage in your business, here are a few ways to handle it.
Widen your recruitment radius
If you’re having trouble finding enough applicants for positions in your business, the first thing you should do is widen your recruitment radius by:
- Expanding your search geographically
- Considering resumes from applicants with different backgrounds.
If you reach out to applicants from further afield, you will be more likely to find qualified and suitable people for the job. As far as diversity is concerned, you should already be taking applications from people of all backgrounds. However, it’s still worth thinking about your job postings and making it clear that you believe the construction industry is just as well suited to women as it is to men. Your progressive thinking will serve you well during the application process.
Get help with recruitment
A streamlined recruitment process is an essential part of any business, but it’s particularly useful for professionals in the construction industry who struggle with worker shortages. You can get help with recruitment by hiring a human resources professional or taking on HR tasks yourself. Knowing where to advertise is the first step—Construction Jobs is a great example—so make sure to post your jobs across several online platforms in addition to running print ads. If you can’t afford to hire a full-time HR person, you can pay for virtual assistance with job advertising from online professionals or ask other pros in your area for their recommendations on how best to advertise for jobs.
Start an apprenticeship scheme
For whatever reason, fewer young people are interested in beginning a career in the construction industry today. While fast-paced careers filled with high-tech gadgets and processes abound, the interest in construction jobs has waned. However, careers in the construction industry are just as important now in order to help the national economy stay afloat. You can help show young people that your industry is both important and exciting by starting an apprenticeship scheme, either on your own or with other local professionals. Come along to school career days and other local events, inviting high school students and recent graduates to participate in a work placement with your business. By showing them the ropes and communicating your passion for your job, you can bring a sense of excitement and relevance to the construction industry.
Use social media
An established and up-to-date online presence is a key facet of any modern business, especially if you’re looking to gain new clients and staff. Using social media to advertise your job postings and sell your business to potential employees is a smart move when you want to widen your search radius and reach new applicants. Plus, it costs far less than hiring an HR professional; most social media platforms are completely free, and you only pay to boost your posts. Remember to cross-post your job postings on your social media accounts, national and local job search sites, and other industry-specific platforms for maximized results.
Make your company more enticing
Reaching more potential employees is only half the battle when you’re facing a worker shortage. You also want to make your job as attractive as possible to bring in lots of applications. People prefer jobs that have added benefits such as insurance coverage, competitive pay rates, bonuses, and paid leave. While the financial output can be quite high for you as a business owner if you include these enticing benefits, you will be rewarded with happy employees who will stay with you for years. Make sure to include these benefits in your job postings, because people who see them will be more likely to apply for your jobs.
Invest in time-saving technology
If the worker shortage is hitting you harder than you’d like and you’ve already tried to boost your application numbers by using the steps above, it might be time to consider some other creative alternatives to help keep your business running smoothly. Technology often comes to the rescue for business productivity, and the same is certainly true for the construction industry. Many forward-thinking construction brands are now using high-tech products and processes—including job management software, robotics, and even augmented reality programs—to save time and money on jobsite labor. You can certainly save yourself some time by investing in construction management software, and depending on your confidence level with other technologies, you might even be able to implement other automated technologies across your building projects to require fewer builders on site at any given time.