From the East coast to the West coast, a shortage of skilled construction labor within the commercial construction industry remains an ongoing epidemic throughout the United States. The demand for hotels, condos and office buildings continues to outpace the pool of those people qualified to build them.

National Commercial Construction Survey
According to an industry-wide survey released in August 2017 by Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America, a majority of construction firms (70%) are experiencing difficulties filling some hourly craft positions.

The survey also depicted that the labor shortage is greatest in the Western region of the United States, followed by the Midwest, the South and the Northeast. So, what are some of the major reasons causing such a significant shortage within this industry? Many experts are quick to blame the economic decline that occurred in the U.S between 2007-2009. This resulted in a vast number of construction workers either relocating and changing careers, opting for retirement, or going back to school to learn a new trade.

Interpreting the Numbers
These numbers might indicate an alarming trend regarding future construction projects both long- and short-term. According to chief executive officer for the Associated General Contractors Stephen Sandherr, “In the short-term, fewer firms will be able to bid on construction projects if they are concerned they will not have enough workers to meet demand. Over the long-term, either construction firms will find a way to do more with fewer workers or public officials will take steps to encourage more people to pursue careers in construction.”

Finding a Successful Formula
The bulk of construction recruiting firms routinely offer the following solutions for fixing labor shortages: increasing financial incentives such as wages, overtime and other bonuses. Although these might prove to be effective remedies upfront, unfortunately, they are only meant to alleviate a shortage of staff on a short-term basis. In order for companies to manage their labor shortages for many years to come, they should consider some innovative solutions to successfully improve their hiring strategies.

  • Leveraging Social Media – Whether it’s producing and uploading marketing videos to YouTube, or scheduling a hiring event on Facebook, the power of social media can be immense when it comes to recruiting the top talent in any industry. Keeping all of these channels active not only provides a way to change the perception of the construction industry, but allows enables companies an efficient way to connect with potential candidates.
  • Corporate Branding – Effectively communicating your corporate culture during the hiring process is critical in attracting the right talent to your firm. Getting everyone on the same page with your corporate values and mission ensures that there will be a cultural alignment when it comes time to extend an offer.
  • Timely Communication – Are you making swift decisions in your hiring process? Are you communicating next steps with your potential hire right away? One way to shorten the hiring cycle is to make the entire process a high priority. This means getting back to people quickly to ensure a smooth process.
  • Working with a Recruiter – You may consider working with a recruiter to establish a strategic hiring plan. One of the major advantages of hiring a recruiter is that they maintain a network of excellent candidates who are not actively looking for a job. These are candidates that companies normally wouldn’t have access to.

Are you ready to build your dream team?

The Birmingham Group is a tenured construction recruiting firm dedicated to helping you build your dream team. If you are ready to take a proactive approach to recruiting and retention, reach out today to discuss a custom recruitment strategy.