Staffing for construction continues to be a challenging endeavor as the industry grapples with an ever-persistent labor shortage. Adding to this issue is an aging construction workforce, which has led to workers retiring with no younger generation to replace them, as well as significant barriers to immigration.
This blog post will therefore provide some useful resources and tips for construction staffing to help you fill in for workforce gaps.
11 best construction staffing resources and tips
If you’re operating in the construction industry, here are some of the best ways to improve staffing.
1. Project and resource management software
While most construction companies can readily tell when they need to hire additional workers, figuring out which roles require the most attention isn’t always easy. Project and resource management software provide the data that professionals can use to identify skill gaps.
Using data to reduce construction skills gaps can be very beneficial, as it allows you to pinpoint what roles need to be filled in both the short and long-term.
For example, companies like SKYGRiD Construction have benefited from using Bridgit Bench to inform their recruitment decisions.
2. Be clear regarding your safety protocols
Safety has always been an important priority on job sites. As such, when hiring, you need to highlight your company’s existing safety protocols to let candidates know that you take it seriously.
With labor shortages seeing no end in sight, construction staffing must focus on attracting and retaining workers. This not only involves branching out into new marketplaces and investing in more effective resource management strategies, but also placing emphasis on the health of employees for a consistently-available workforce.
3. Social media
Today, platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn play important roles in professional networking. Savvy construction companies have begun leveraging social media for hiring by:
- Creating dedicated profiles for recruiting (which gives candidates a much more professional impression of your company than recruiters reaching out via their own personal profiles)
- Posting industry-relevant content regularly to attract candidates
- Using personalized videos and messages to draw attention to their unique company culture
- Posting ads on social media platforms that allow it (including Facebook)
4. Construction staffing agencies
Construction firms may find staffing centers focused on providing labor immensely helpful, especially in terms of recruiting specialized talent.
These agencies are staffed with recruitment professionals who possess the expertise to hire on qualified candidates, which can be useful when your company lacks a strong human resources department or when your construction management workers don’t have the skills necessary for hiring.
If you’re located in Canada, some well-known construction staffing companies you may find valuable include:
However, if your company is based in the United States, some well-known construction staffing firms that you can make use of include:
The benefits of working with construction staffing agencies
Having an agency handle your company’s staffing needs can prove to be immensely beneficial in many ways.
For one, it can save you a lot of time, as the hiring process can consume a lot of resources that would otherwise be better used on project completion.
Going through hundreds of applications to narrow down your options to a pool of candidates, conducting (often multiple) interviews, negotiating and preparing paperwork, and going through the onboarding process can be incredibly time-consuming.
A staffing agency can allow you to better focus on what’s important as they handle this resource-intensive recruitment process—often more effectively as well, as another benefit is access to expertise and insights from recruitment professionals.
With their knowledge of standardized hiring techniques, they’ll be able to do a thorough, quicker, and more efficient job at fulfilling your company’s labor needs.
Having a construction staffing company assist with recruitment is also better because they’ll likely have knowledge of local markets in terms of labor availability. This will allow them to accommodate your company’s specific needs.
By enlisting the help of a recruitment agency, your company can gain a competitive advantage, as you’ll have more labor on board in less time to speed up project completion.
5. Local classifieds
Craigslist and Kijiji are great for much more than just selling your used furniture. Workers have been using these platforms for years to identify and apply for opportunities. As such, they’re definitely worth a shot if you’ve been having difficulty finding qualified candidates elsewhere.
Here are some tips for using local classifieds to find talent:
- Be specific regarding the minimum qualifications you’d like candidates to have
- Weed out candidates who lack attention to detail by asking them to include something specific in their response (i.e., mentioning your company name in all caps); then, as you receive email responses, you can simply filter them to show only those who paid attention to your request
- Don’t worry about responding to every single applicant personally; websites like Craigslist have a fairly high noise-to-signal ratio
- Use an applicant tracking system (ATS); these programs are essential for scanning large numbers of resumes and job applications without spending tons of man-hours
People are an indispensable resource, not only in terms of labor, but also in what they can offer with who they know. It’s likely that you’ve worked with a number of contractors in the past on multiple or overlapping projects. You can use this to your advantage when you’re having trouble with construction staffing and need positions to be filled.
Try asking past collaborators if they know anyone who could possibly be a valuable candidate. Using platforms like LinkedIn can help with maintaining connections.
7. Traditional job listing sites
While construction-specific staffing agencies can help you find experienced workers, don’t discount the importance of traditional job listing sites as well.
Platforms such as Indeed and ZipRecruiter remain some of the most popular online job marketplaces in North America, with millions of monthly visitors. Much of the advice related to local classifieds applies here; use an ATS and be very specific regarding your expectations of candidates.
When it comes to construction staffing, apprenticeships are another source of human capital that can allow you to effectively account for skill gaps. While it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to fill in for highly-specialized senior roles, they’re a great opportunity to recruit promising candidates and train them into workers that fit your company’s needs.
One effective way to recruit apprentices is by reaching out to internship coordinators at local schools and partnering with them. New graduates will always be searching for positions and will be trying to break into the job market, providing your company with a great, consistent source of workers.
9. Employee referral programs
It’s very likely that your existing workers have contacts within their networks that might qualify for existing roles. Given how expensive it can be to find these qualified candidates, many companies pay existing employees referral fees for successful hires.
Here are some tips for ensuring a quality construction employee referral system:
- Set realistic goals for the program, such as how many recruits you expect to obtain from it
- Create a standardized process for referral submissions (i.e., a form employees can submit)
- Ensure your standardized process minimizes the likelihood of employees attempting to game the system by referring unqualified candidates and then pulling strings internally to get them approved (i.e., implement stricter evaluations of candidates referred by employees that would ultimately be involved in the hiring process)
- Keep your employees informed regarding how their candidates are progressing through the recruitment process
- Provide your employees with feedback on their submissions so they know exactly what you’re looking for in candidates
10. Make your company more attractive by emphasizing technological efficiency
Construction firms deal with a lot of glaring problems on a regular basis, whether it’s constant delays or cost overruns. A lot of these problems are frustrating to prospective candidates, especially younger ones, as these issues can easily be addressed by enlisting the help of technological solutions.
Candidates want a company that cares about operational efficiency, so when going through the process of construction staffing, it helps if you distinguish your firm by emphasizing modern management practices and an openness to new ideas, techniques, and technologies.
This forward-thinking mentality will make your company more attractive to candidates, as they’ll see you as adaptable to changing times if it means improving the stability of your company.
11. Consider using subcontractors more often
If you find yourself continually lacking qualified candidates for a particular role, consider relying more heavily on subcontractors. While this can often cost more per hour, you’ll usually spend less on payroll expenses. After all, as we mentioned in our article on calculating construction labor costs, a lot more goes into construction labor costs than mere salaries.
Subcontractors will handle the process of recruiting and training professionals while you can focus on the areas in which you have an easier time hiring.
The importance of construction staffing
Labor is the backbone of all construction projects, which is why effective staffing for construction firms is vital to delivering high-quality results and ensuring project success. With tight deadlines and a constant need for labor being at the center of projects, staying ahead of recruitment becomes all the more important.
In this regard, construction staffing agencies are invaluable, as they can help address the issue of worker shortages without consuming additional labor resources to deal with it.
What makes construction staffing so challenging?
With how important staffing is, you might be wondering why, then, so many construction companies struggle with it. Here are some key reasons as to why.
Finding qualified construction workers
The main factor that makes staffing so challenging in the construction industry is a simple inability to find qualified workers. Especially with the increased demand for housing, labor is needed now more than ever, but there are fewer people willing to fill those roles.
The best way to address this is by improving your company’s processes for recruitment. Consider also enlisting the help of construction staffing agencies.
Bridging skill gaps
With the older generation of the workforce retiring, replacements are needed to fill in for this labor gap. The problem, however, lies in there being a lack of younger workers available.
Statistics have shown that fewer young people are opting to work in the construction industry, as they see more attractive prospects elsewhere. This lack of specialized trades is expected to worsen in the upcoming decade if something doesn’t change.
The industry needs to invest in attracting younger construction workers, whether that’s through improving pay and benefits, increasing operational efficiency, or adopting new methods for a comfortable work life.
To maintain existing workers, companies need to invest in ongoing training for sustainable growth.
Fulfilling compliance standards
Construction staffing is also made difficult by companies failing to follow the various regulations involved with recruitment and worker retention.
Interview practices should be reviewed periodically to ensure that biases and discrimination are not involved in the hiring process, as perfectly qualified candidates may end up being overlooked.
It’s important to also address any disparities in pay if present and ensure equality in promotions to keep high-performing workers.
Maintaining construction worker safety
Construction can be risky work in terms of safety if protocols aren’t properly followed. The construction industry is known to be the sector with the highest number of injuries, which can explain why people may be hesitant to work in this industry.
Safety training and a safety plan should be properly developed and executed.
Need help with workforce management? Choose Bridgit Bench
Construction staffing is no easy feat. We hope this article has given you some valuable ideas regarding how you can go about finding qualified candidates.
If you need a more efficient way to manage your existing workforce to inform recruitment decisions, consider Bridgit Bench. Our cloud-based system allows you to more effectively keep track of construction personnel and organize labor.
Request a demo with Bridgit today.