5 Ways Construction Companies Can Beat Shortage of Labor

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Given the dark days the construction industry experienced during the Great Recession, it would seem that everything's coming up roses for it lately. After all, jobs in the construction industry are increasing significantly, financial institutions are considerably easier to work with than in years past, and new technologies employed at work sites are making them safer and more effective than ever before. So, nothing but blue skies, right? But there is a dark cloud on the construction industry horizon, however. While there are more construction jobs out there, there are fewer and fewer workers to complete them. Professional organizations within the industry are noting that this current worker shortage is already having an adverse effect on project start-ups in 2015. And according to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, this construction labor shortage is not a short term problem.  They're forecasting a shortage of well over a million construction workers within the next seven years.

Why is this happening? Many of the qualified workers laid off during the recession moved on to other jobs, construction jobs with overseas firms, or simply retired. Many new applicants lack the skills needed for these jobs. And less and less construction training and job preparation is being offered through traditional learning institutions.

While the federal government is playing a part in curbing this shortage by instituting new programs to try to draw new workers, the industry itself needs to accept responsibility in staunching the loss of workers and attracting new ones. Below are some ways to make a construction firm a more attractive employer to join and stick with.

5. Empower WorkersMoney's great, but today's employees also want a safe workplace environment, ongoing training opportunities, and management's ear. They also want a fast way to communicate with construction management.

4. Hire A More Diverse WorkforceAll the "Construction Joes" seem to be disappearing? There could be quite a few qualified "Construction Janes and Joses" out there to replace them. And don't forget returning veterans and older workers, either. Do you have the cultural and bilingual tools in place to accommodate them?

3. Be A MentorEncourage vocational high schools to steer students towards construction by developing a mentoring program with school visits, field trips, and summer job opportunities.

2. Be More SocialFacebook. Twitter. Reddit. They're just not for teenagers anymore, they can be today's hiring halls. Don't be afraid to use a multitude of online hiring sites, like the construction oriented HomeAdvisor to advertise job openings, too.

1. Pay And BenefitsBe prepared to pay and offer competitive wages and benefits, and realize that you’re not just competing with other contractors. How are those other industries attracting and keeping workers? Be creative in offering other incentives too, such as company profit sharing to your construction labor contractors.