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4 Strategies for Construction Companies to Attract and Retain Talent

We examine four strategies construction companies can use to combat the industry's labor shortage and attract workers.

Anna Coucke

by Anna Coucke - March 27th, 2024


The construction industry is booming, with infrastructure projects on the rise and a growing demand for new housing. However, this growth is hampered by a significant issue: a persistent labor shortage. 

A staggering 85% of construction companies report difficulty filling open positions, highlighting the critical need for innovative recruitment strategies when attracting talent.

This shortage stems from a number of factors, including:

  1. An aging workforce, with baby boomers reaching retirement age at an increasing rate. 

  2. Negative stereotypes of the industry being physically demanding and lacking career progression. 

  3. Younger workers who do not possess the skills, qualifications, and training needed for the job.

To bridge this gap, construction companies must actively engage in attracting and retaining talent.

In the article, we examine four strategies for construction companies to overcome the labor shortage and build a robust workforce.

Make Construction Careers Shine

In recent years, the construction talent pipeline has shrunk, with younger generations favoring higher education over vocational careers that are viewed as physically demanding with little opportunity for growth, a driving factor in the current construction talent shortage

In reality, the construction industry offers a multitude of rewarding career paths that are often overlooked. Here are a few ways you can position construction jobs as an attractive career choice for potential employees.

Competitive Pay and Benefits

Construction jobs requiring skilled labor allow workers to earn competitive wages that reflect their expertise, with the average employee in the construction sector earning an above-average median wage. 

Opportunities for career growth into higher-paid positions, such as project managers, can keep workers engaged as they challenge themselves to move up. Construction companies can also provide workers opportunities for overtime pay and comprehensive benefits packages, including health insurance, dental plans, vision coverage, and retirement savings options.

When thinking about benefits for your workers, also consider what they may need outside of standard benefits offerings. Some fringe benefits to consider include: transportation subsidies, childcare support, and continuing education.

Job Security

Unlike other sectors, construction is driven by fundamental societal needs, including constant maintenance and upgrades to infrastructure and demand for housing.

For many professions, fears of artificial intelligence (AI) impacting human employment in the near future is a genuine concern, However, due to the physical nature and adaptability required of construction jobs, they are unlikely to be replaced by AI in the foreseeable future. 

Skill Development and Growth

Construction offers an environment where individuals can continuously learn and hone their skills. Apprenticeships and training programs can equip individuals with valuable skills in carpentry, welding, electrical work, plumbing, and more. 

Construction also offers opportunities to develop soft skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking. These skills can be applied to a variety of career paths beyond construction for those who want to move into project management, engineering, surveying, or even safety inspection.

Modernize Your Recruitment Strategy

Positioning construction as an attractive career path is just the first step to attracting talent. Today's job seekers expect a streamlined and efficient recruitment process that demonstrates the company cares about the employee experience. Any friction in your recruitment and hiring process can cause frustration that may have prospects searching elsewhere. 

Here are some steps to take to modernize your approach:

Streamline the Hiring Process

Reduce cumbersome application steps by implementing online applications, applicant tracking systems, and skills assessments to simplify the initial stages of the hiring process. Be sure to offer faster interview turnaround times and have transparent communication throughout the process. 

When it’s time to hire, utilize an automated onboarding process that allows employees to easily review and sign required documents, complete a background check, and enroll in payroll and benefits — all before their first day — so they can hit the ground running come Day 1.

Embrace Online Platforms

Using online job boards and staffing agencies allows companies to reach a wider pool of candidates, with 63% of construction firms reporting that they have recently added online strategies to their recruiting. 

As part of this approach, build a strong employer profile that showcases your company culture and values (more on that in a moment) and leverage the power of social media recruitment platforms like LinkedIn and industry-specific platforms to target skilled professionals.

Target Younger Demographics

With the number of young construction workers decreasing by 30% in the last 20 years, construction firms must reposition themselves as an attractive career opportunity for younger generations. 

Be sure to highlight career growth opportunities within your company to attract young talent seeking long-term prospects. Partner with local vocational schools and technical colleges to connect with aspiring construction professionals, and offer apprenticeship programs that provide valuable hands-on experience to pave the way for future employment and growth with your company. 

Invest in Your Workforce

Attracting new talent is just one piece of the puzzle. Retaining a skilled workforce long-term and reducing turnover requires ongoing investment in employee well-being and development. 

Here are some ways you can show that you are invested in your workforce’s long-term success:

Benchmark and Audit Salaries

Be sure to frequently evaluate your compensation and benefits package to see how they stack up against industry standards, and utilize employee surveys to see if your compensation and benefits packages are meeting employee needs and expectations.

Prioritize Safety

Companies must demonstrate concern and commitment to employee safety by implementing robust safety protocols and a strong safety culture that meets or exceeds regulations and OSHA compliance. Hold frequent training sessions that utilize engaging methods such as hands-on demonstrations and videos.

Consider Upskilling Current Employees

To stay ahead of the curve, consider upskilling your existing workforce to fill higher-skills roles and training them in new technologies like drone mapping or Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Showcase Your Company Culture

In today's job market, company culture matters. Here's how to enhance and showcase yours.

Promote Your Company Website and Social Media

Utilize your company website and social media accounts to showcase your company culture and values to both potential clients and employees. You can feature employee testimonials that highlight positive work experiences and a sense of community within the company, and showcase completed projects that employees can take pride in being a part of.

Create a Positive Work Environment

Fostering a positive culture of teamwork and collaboration is vital to attracting and retaining talent. These initiatives allow you to attract and retain employees who are invested in the success and growth of both the company and their own careers.

This can involve:

  • Implementing transparent communication so workers feel comfortable voicing concerns, asking questions, and working through disputes.

  • Empowering employees through safety committees and feedback systems to show that their input is valued.

  • Recognizing employee achievements and contributions to the larger team. 

How GoCo Helps Attract Talent

By positioning your organization as an employer that is dedicated to the safety, well-being, and growth of its workforce, you can attract and retain talent who is engaged, happy, and dedicated to the growth and success of the company. 

GoCo can help position your company for success through every stage of the employee journey. 

Our intuitive, user-friendly platform streamlines all HR processes from onboarding to payroll and time tracking, consolidating everything into a single, centralized system. 

The construction industry moves fast, and so does GoCo. Our platform is constantly updated to reflect the latest compliance changes, and our I-9 and background check integrations make compliance a breeze. 

Ready to see it for yourself? Take a free tour of GoCo to see how we can help you level up your HR toolkit and position your company as a top employer.

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