Construction Labor Shortage: Maintaining Productivity
To stay competitive during a labor shortage, businesses need to mitigate risks.
Table of Contents
1. Why is there a labor shortage?
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic opened a labor gap that continues to grow today.
COVID-19's physical impact
The National Bureau of Economic Research estimates that COVID-19 removed over 500,000 people from the U.S. workforce.
This accounts for individuals who passed away as a result of contracting the disease and those who were forced into early retirement by lingering symptoms.
Remaining workers continue to deal with COVID and its long-term side effects, leading to reduced work hours and frequent absences well into 2023.
In addition to these physical effects, COVID-19 changed the way we think about work in general.
As lockdown stretched well beyond initial estimates, the corporate world adapted to remote work. However industries like construction, which depends on in-person labor, were forced to shut down until mandates were lifted. And, even when contractors could go back to the jobsite, new safety regulations made work more complicated and difficult.
Unemployment rates rose dramatically, and laid-off workers weren't receiving reliable benefits due to the unanticipated volume of claims.
A number of construction professionals left the industry during this time to avoid a lapse in income or work in an industry with less safety concerns.
Not everyone came back to construction, partly due to changing values.
2. What do employees expect from their employer?
COVID shocked the world. People suddenly lost close friends and relatives or had their lives upended by mass layoffs or business closings.
Many reevaluated their perspectives and decided to seek out employment that matched new criteria based on their experiences during the pandemic.
Employees understand businesses can't function without them. They no longer want to work for an employer, they want to work with them.
An employer should provide just as much value to an employee as the employee provides their business.
The pandemic forced many people to search for new work, introducing them to new and different opportunities.
Modern workers have plenty of tools at their disposal to research salaries and benefits offered by other employers and career paths.
Priority on mental health
Work life balance is often more important than any other single factor when choosing a job.
3. How can you meet worker needs during the labor shortage?
In the past, employees typically stayed with the same company—or at least within the same industry—throughout their entire careers. Now, job stability seems fragile.
Modern workers seek new employment as soon as they feel undervalued, unfairly treated, or that their mental and physical health is at risk.
In order to stay competitive, businesses need to focus on improving employee retention and working more efficiently with the workforce they have.
Help your employees grow
Make sure your employees have the opportunity to develop their professional skill sets at work. Establish a mentorship program or offer formal training to address any skill gaps and give your employeess the chance to grow.
Show them you value their input by asking for fedback and addressing common concerns openly and directly.
Invest in smart tools
Outdated processes quickly become frustrating for employees that use modern conveniences in their everyday personal lives. Invest in technology that automates manual tasks and reduces repetitive data entry.
Mobile apps that simplify daily reporting, safety mangement, time tracking, and other time consuming tasks keeps your employees focused on the responsibilities that matter most.
Construction companies should frequently assess operations and use historical performance data to inform business decisions. Without data from the field, making bids and planning projects can seem like a shot in the dark and can result in overworked or underutilized employees.
Invest time in production tracking and report analysis. Make sure that when you assign work, the way you do so reflects your team's real capabilities.
4. Maintain productivity with Raken
Raken's easy-to-use web and mobile app helps your crew work faster and smarter. The field will appreciate the time they save completing daily reports, checklists, and time cards, which the office can publish automated reports and gain clear visbility with advanced production insights.
- Daily reporting & visibilty
- Time & resource management
- Field & office communication
- Safety & quality
- Profitability & insights
Invest in your employees' success and give them digital tools that keep all your important project info in one place.