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Tips for Finding Talent for Your Contracting Business

12/01/2021 Blog

Even before the pandemic, the construction industry needed workers. Now, businesses must hire 430,000 more before the year’s end and another 1 million by 2024 if they’re to keep up with demand.

It seems the odds are stacked against construction professionals when it comes to finding talent. How will entrepreneurs find workers when there’s such an extreme labor shortage?

Luckily, the industry still has a few tricks up its sleeve. Regardless of how many workers they need, there are a few things business owners can do to find and attract top talent. Hit the ground running with a full team by using the following tips.

1. Participate in Job Fairs

Nationally, the share of young construction workers declined by 30% between 2005 and 2016, indicating a widespread recruitment struggle. While there’s no single reason for their disinterest, the misconception that skilled trades don’t lead to good-paying career paths may be to blame.

Instead of seeking apprenticeships, these kids go to college and rack up thousands in debt. Meanwhile, construction managers — 58% of which don’t have a college degree —  earn a median annual salary of $95,260, which is well above the national median of $39,810.

Show students they can have a lucrative career in construction and find talent by participating in job fairs. Contact local universities or partner with other businesses to organize and host a few each year. Startups and the construction industry as a whole will benefit from these efforts.

2. Advertise the Benefits

Increase interest and attract hard-to-find candidates by advertising the benefits of working with a construction company. Why should someone leave their current job to join the team?

Competitive pay is obviously a deal-breaker. However, many of today’s workers are looking for more than financial compensation. They want opportunities for professional and personal growth, and business owners must rise to meet their demands. Survey data indicates almost 90% of today’s construction workers consider the industry “unproductive” — what can professionals do to help everyone’s work feel valuable?

Fortunately, the tools to showcase how exciting and dynamic construction work is are in our hands. Develop an onboarding strategy to cross-train employees and an ongoing learning program to help them grow their skill sets. Provide on-site training, mentorships and additional resources so they can invest and apply themselves. Then, promote from within to incentivize growth. These strategies will weed out passive workers and attract top-tier talent.

3. Implement Technology

Very few people use “help wanted” ads or physical job boards to find and hire employees. Instead, they’ve turned to online job boards and virtual marketing strategies to get more viewers — and potential candidates.

Implementing technology also appeals to and reaches the younger crowd, especially if it entails social media. More than 70% of 18 to 24-year-olds use Instagram, and 81% of them visit the platform on a daily basis. Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube and Twitter are also popular among the younger generation.

Construction is a traditional industry, but evolving how we reach out to applicants will do wonders for raising visibility. New technologies are changing construction techniques and management — why wouldn’t they change the way we communicate, too?

4. Work With a Recruiter

Startups that are still struggling to find contractors should work with a recruiter. They specialize in talent acquisition, and the best ones will have experience hiring for a wide variety of industries. They have access to and can source confidential passive candidates that would’ve been impossible to find without the right credentials, experience and resources.

Hire outside help or add a recruiter to the team so management doesn’t have to do all the legwork. Then, all they have to do is conduct interviews and make final hiring decisions.

5. Partner With an Educational Program

This is a long-term effort, but one of the bottlenecks to construction talent is initial education and training. Contracting businesses can do a lot of good for their communities and their own hiring initiatives by providing support to community colleges, vocational schools and other programs that offer young people a way to enter the construction workforce.

These programs can use financial resources and in-person training to help boost students and pair them with apprenticeship opportunities or jobs after completing their education. In many states, programs like Build Your Future Arizona or North Caroline’s government-spo Construction Training Program also provide support for construction education. Businesses can reach out to local governments to share job opportunities for new graduates.

Educational programs are great talent-finding efforts because they help bring more people into the construction industry in the first place. Getting in on the ground level can help you recruit talented young workers and promote healthy growth in the industry as a whole.

6. Create a Referral Program

More than half of marketers say referral programs have lower cost-per-lead than other channels, and 60% say they generate a high volume of leads. Therefore, entrepreneurs who’ve already made a name for themselves with clients should use them to attract customers and employees.

Startups can incentivize word-of-mouth advertising by offering free or discounted services to anyone who sends potential candidates their way. Once they’ve established a small team, they can use the program to encourage employees to refer their friends and family. This strategy can help startups grow large groups faster and gain a solid client base along the way.

Retaining Top Talent for Your Contracting Business

Finding talent is only half the battle. Once small businesses have enough contractors, they must strive to retain them. Of course, following through on programs, pay and other benefits is important, but creating a positive work environment is key. Follow safety guidelines, invest in company culture and prioritize workers’ job satisfaction. If they are, indeed, satisfied, they’ll stick around for years to come.

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