6 Strategies to Combat the Construction Labor Shortage

December 20, 2022
Construction Workers standing on a building foundation

Contractors have been facing a labor shortage for years and attracting and retaining qualified workers in the construction industry can be difficult. In 2021, the Associated Builders and Contractors Organization noted that an additional 430,000 jobs needed to be filled on top of the normal hiring pace to meet construction labor demands. In 2022 that number was raised to 650,000. Concurrently, according to the National Center for Construction Education and Research, approximately 40 percent of the current construction workforce will retire by 2031.

If you are looking to attract, recruit, and retain employees in the construction industry, Deltek offers six strategies to help overcome the construction labor shortage.

  1. Prioritize Applicant Positioning – A lot of time and effort is spent reviewing resumes, interviewing and hiring candidates and training new hires. While you may focus on getting as many workers as possible, it’s more important to spend time making sure you’re hiring the right fit rather than focusing on the quantity. To easily weed out the people that won’t be a good fit, set expectations by mentioning in your job advertisement the type of work and conditions along with the company’s values and culture.
  2. Provide Professional Development – Having a solid pathway where employees can see growth is important for employee retention. By investing in your training, you are also investing in your employees. One way this could be achieved is by creating an apprenticeship program. Jack Nix, COO at Shelby Erectors, believes that by providing formalized education with on-the-job training, and allowing individuals to get paid to take courses, there is a much higher chance of the worker staying with the company, especially if they hit the 90-day mark.

    Likewise, David Crystal, General Manager with Jostin Construction, says, “Whether [employees] stay with Jostin or move to another company in the industry, we just want to see more young individuals move into this field and make a career for themselves.”
  3. Expand Recruitment Tactics – There are multiple ways you can recruit talent including social media, job posting platforms and your website. In person, you can present at high schools, universities, trade schools and associations, military associations, and technical schools, targeting key talent markets. Hiring a recruitment agency can also be helpful when searching for applicants. When expanding recruitment tactics, it’s essential to educate the younger generation about career paths in construction. Even if you are not hiring for a certain position now, you could be in the future.
  4. Recruit with Diversity and Inclusion in Mind – It’s important to be intentional with diversity and inclusion when recruiting. You can also use zip code tracking to cast a wide net of applicants and send individuals who live in those zip codes to work on local jobs to help promote not only your company but also provide those individuals with community pride. Ensuring diversity within your key leadership team is a must; studies have shown that a diverse workforce is better at solving problems due to the varying backgrounds, perspectives, and skills, leading to higher job efficiency and profitability.


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  6. Offer a Full Benefits Package – Workers today and the emerging workforce are seeking an improved quality of life, and this includes a full package including competitive compensation, benefits and time off. It’s important to take a look at how you are structuring your benefits to ensure you remain competitive. Improved quality of life helps foster more positive attitudes and more productive employees—making it easier to retain your workers.
  7. Implement New Technology – Implementing new technology can also help your company overcome the construction labor shortage. Technology should be leveraged both in the field and in the office. In the field, it can replace some of the hard, physical labor so you don’t need as many skilled workers. In the office, technology solutions, like Deltek ComputerEase, can be implemented to remove tasks, reduce inputting errors and the use of multiple spreadsheets, and provide a more environmentally conscious business.

Whether it’s in the field or in the office, new technology will ultimately help your company save time and money so you can focus on other aspects of the business, like hiring and training. It can also be used as a recruiting tactic, appealing to a younger, tech-savvy generation.

Labor shortages are at an all-time high in many industries, especially the construction industry. In order to hire and retain talent in this challenging environment contractors will need to continually evaluate and adapt their practices to remain competitive.


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