The labor shortage has hit many industries, including construction. Earlier this year, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) estimated that the industry will need to attract an additional 501,000 workers in addition to the normal pace of hiring for 2024.

According to an ABC economist, two factors shape the interaction between construction worker supply and demand. “There are structural factors, including outsized retirement levels, megaprojects in several private and public construction segments, and cultural factors that encourage too few young people to enter the skilled construction trades. There are also factors related to interest rates, consumer sentiment, and general economic performance.”

ABC says that more than one in five construction workers are 55 or older. Their retirement, therefore, will continue to contract the industry’s workforce. “These are the most experienced workers, and their departures are especially concerning,” according to ABC.

What Can You Do to Attract Talented and Skilled Contractors?

Become an employer of choice. Begin by ensuring your operation has a stellar reputation in the industry and among workers. When recruiting workers, you want to ensure that job seekers researching your business get favorable feedback about your company.

Build your firm’s reputation with a positive work environment and culture that fosters work/life balance and strong relationships with customers who will serve as your advocates with testimonials on your website, social media platforms, and review sites. Highlight your impressive projects (and future projects if known) on your website and social media. Top candidates will perform deep dives into an operation before accepting a project or employment.

Use social media to recruit talent. One way to attract new workers, especially young talent, is to include job postings on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.

Leverage trade schools and community colleges. Most two-year colleges have trades/vocational programs that teach students the basics. Once recruited, these workers can enter a new job with solid entry-level experience. Make your construction company known at these schools.

Streamline your hiring and onboarding process. Your competition will take advantage if you’re slow to respond to potential candidates. Be sure your hiring and onboarding process follows established procedures and policies so you can attract skilled construction workers to your team.

Offer competitive compensation and benefits. You want the best talent you can get for your projects. Be sure what you’re offering measures up. Paying less won’t get you the skilled workers you need to help you take your operation to the next level.

Provide on-the-job training. Every operation has a different way of doing things. Be sure to take the time to train recruits on your policies and procedures. Provide comprehensive safety training on personal protective equipment (PPE) and equipment use.

Also, always be honest. If you make specific promises during the recruitment process, follow through. If something impedes your ability to keep those promises, clearly communicate why.

Keeping Your Construction Talent

Create a formal mentorship program. Your crew must be motivated to achieve success. By connecting new employees with experienced and skilled role models, you are investing in the employees and your company.

Establish performance and career goals. Working with your new staff to create performance measures will offer them something to strive for. Talk with your employees about prospects for advancement. Giving your employees the ability to take on new duties and establishing a clear path to advancement will encourage them to stay.

Offer incentives. These may include bonuses, more vacation time, flexible scheduling, and opportunities for continuing education.