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Recruiting Construction Workers in the Midst of a Major Labor Shortage

Posted by Dawn White on Jan 21, 2022 10:58:46 AM
Dawn White
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Two builders shaking hands at a construction site | recruiting construction workers during labor shortage

As Biden’s new Infrastructure Act begins to roll out, construction companies are celebrating over the new opportunities and big contracts that are about to come their way. But there’s a downside, as well. America’s construction industry has a labor shortage of 1 million workers.

If you want to go after those big contracts that are coming, make sure you’re staffing up now. When that money is disbursed in the coming months, you need to have the talent in place to take on those big contracts.

The good news is that more and more families are realizing that the college track may not be the only (or the best) choice anymore. With college debt escalating beyond reason, young people are exploring other options.

The time is ripe for construction companies to get creative with their recruiting efforts. Let’s explore some options that you can use to build up your workforce.

Start Recruiting Early

Gen Z is more open to pursuing paths to success that don’t necessarily run through a four-year college. Fewer people are interested in earning a Bachelor’s degree, and instead they’re more interested in finding success early on and learning on the job. This generation can be a great opportunity for construction companies seeking to hire fresh talent.

Messer Construction is an IDI client that has found creative ways to get young people thinking about a career in construction. Part of their strategy is to get in front of young people early. Messer supports high schools and vocational schools by sponsoring athletics, participating in job fairs, talking with students in the classroom, and sponsoring co-op opportunities.

“Talent has always been the root of who we are as a company,” said Messer’s recruiter, Terri Brown. “We believe an individual’s professional growth is the foundation for company growth. Recruiting top talent is done through co-ops and internships, outreach to diverse candidates, employee referrals, and more.”

Partner with community colleges and universities to create scholarships for people who are interested in the construction industry — especially in engineering and project management. Scholarships = name recognition, interest in internships.

Some universities provide a co-op program where students learn the construction industry from the bottom up. When they graduate college, they already have a wealth of connections and knowledge, as well as a four-year degree. These programs make for a seamless transition into the construction industry.

Recruit Women and Minorities

Attracting young women to the construction industry wasn’t very feasible in the past. But the workforce is changing. In the last five years, the number of women in blue collar jobs has been trending upwards.

If your recruiting isn’t designed to attract women, you’re missing out on 50 percent of the workforce. The same is true for minorities, who are beginning to show more of an interest in the trades.

Independent Electrical Contractors suggests three ways to build your talent pipeline and attract young women and minorities:

  • Develop applied learning opportunities — hands-on experiences such as job shadowing or internships that give exposure to everyday work.
  • Build relationships with nontraditional partners who can connect you to young people — STEM clubs, civic groups, and even homeschool networks. IDI supports Black Girls Code, which helps young women of color to break into STEM fields.
  • Create buzzworthy facetime opportunities to build excitement about the industry and your company — sponsor science fairs, Shark Tank-style competitions, or career day events. Some companies host signing day events for young employees with all the pageantry of NFL Draft Day.

Have a Marketing Mindset

Most people think of marketing as a customer generating activity, but marketing can be used to boost your recruiting as well. Marketing builds your brand in a way that attracts people to your company. That’s why the dream jobs of young people are at Apple, Google, and Tesla — they want to work for the brands they love and admire.

Build a media presence that appeals to young workers. Get active on the social platforms where young people hang out and show off your work culture. Highlight the interesting projects you’re doing.

Messer Construction has a strong social media presence that highlights their work culture, core values, and interesting projects. They’re very active on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Your Partner in Construction Labor

As the Infrastructure Act rolls out, labor shortages will be top of mind for construction companies. But the contractors who think innovatively and take creative approaches to recruiting will find the greatest success in plugging their holes.

As you focus on hiring, keep in touch with IDI. We know construction, and we’ve been in the industry for over 30 years. We understand the labor and payroll issues our customers face every day, and we’ve built solutions that make your life easier.

Whether you need an automation solution or a trusted advisor, consider IDI your go-to source.

Learn more abour how IDI helps construction companies

Topics: Construction Industry Solutions