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Tips to Improve Construction Industry Recruiting

Workforce Development

Reposted with permission from constructionexec.com, August 15, 2019, all rights reserved. Copyright 2019

It is no secret that the talent exodus after the 2008 recession created lasting impacts on the construction industry. According to the USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index, the labor shortage poses major challenges to the industry, causing firms to struggle to meet deadlines (70%), increase costs for new work (63%), ask skilled workers to do more work (81%) and reject new projects (40%).

In this tight labor market, the strategies outlined below can help construction companies effectively recruit qualified candidates.

1. DEVELOP A RECRUITING STRATEGY

Many construction firms take a reactive approach to hiring, starting the search process when there is an opening to fill or a new project creates the need for more people. However, hiring from a position of need puts a company at a disadvantage. A better practice is to develop a talent acquisition strategy that includes a continuous process of recruitment. Maintaining a pipeline of qualified candidates can help firms to fill positions more quickly, reducing the 30- to 45-day time frame it typically takes to fill a role and helping companies beat out competitors for top talent.

Coordination is also key to any successful recruiting strategy. The role of recruiting coordinator is not one that is typically found in construction firms, with many companies opting to rotate this function among office managers and administrative staff as time permits. To take a strategic approach to recruiting, firms should assign a coordinator to manage all facets of the company recruiting program, including placing ads, screening candidates and attending hiring fairs. Construction firm executives and owners should work closely with their recruiting coordinator and be an integral part of developing and implementing recruiting strategies.

Firms should also cast a wider net, targeting out-of-state candidates who may have a personal tie to your area, as well as considering candidates in other sectors such as engineers and project managers who might currently be working in other industries.

2. IMPLEMENT A REFERRAL PROGRAM

Construction companies should create a culture of recruiting in their firms by tapping existing employees as ambassadors of the firm. This could include implementing a referral program that provides bonuses to existing employees who recommend someone the company hires. According to HR Technologist, “employees hired via referrals come in 55% faster than those sourced through career sites and this could make a world of difference for competitive firms [and] tight schedules. …”

3. USE SOCIAL MEDIA

By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the entire U.S. workforce, and this is the year Generation Z begins to enter the workforce. These two demographics have grown up with social media, using it in all facets of their lives, including job searching. In order to attract Millennials and Gen Zers, it is imperative for construction firms to add social platforms to their recruiting strategies.

To effectively develop a social recruiting program, construction firms should create social media accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as develop YouTube videos and blog posts that showcase a positive company culture. Companies can create social content geared toward recruiting and networking by highlighting employee success stories, giving an inside look at the day-to-day at the company and showcasing the benefits of working at the firm.

LinkedIn is a particularly effective platform for construction firms to find and connect with passive talent. Because the majority of the construction workforce is already employed, companies need to entice and provide big enough incentives to encourage passive job seekers to choose another firm. For job descriptions, LinkedIn advises companies to illustrate the role’s benefits and opportunities for growth, collaboration and leadership, in tandem with highlighting the position’s value to the company.

4. HIGHLIGHT COMPANY CULTURE AND PERKS

The construction industry is lagging when it comes to highlighting an exciting culture and perks that attract talent, especially Millennial and Gen Z job seekers. Company culture is particularly important to these two demographics who want to join companies that are flexible, creative and innovative. Companies should highlight perks that appeal to Millennials and Gen Zers, including factors such as flexible work hours, customizable benefits and paid volunteer hours. Another perk with multi-generational appeal is the signing bonus; signing bonuses, usually reserved for executive or professional-level positions, are being used by more and more firms to attract workers.

The tips outlined above focus on recruiting, but construction firms should not neglect retention strategies. Retention initiatives should include strong employee development and career advancement programs, in addition to competitive benefits and wages. Spending a bit more time and effort on retention can pay off for construction firms by lowering recruiting costs and keeping valued employees in the fold.

The lack of affordable, skilled talent, coupled with the growth of the Millennial workforce and retiring Baby Boomers has made a tight labor market even tighter in the construction industry. Construction firms can use these four tips to take an innovative, strategic approach to recruiting in order to weather the labor shortage and effectively recruit and hire qualified employees.

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