Construction Project Planning & Scheduling

Navigating the Construction Labor Shortage

The construction industry faced a labor shortage before things were further complicated by the pandemic and subsequent housing market boom. Hundreds of thousands of construction workers will need to be hired in the coming years if the pace of this demand continues. 

Contractors of all shapes and sizes, both commercial and residential, are facing unprecedented levels of work but can only complete projects if they have enough skilled workers. Business owners have raised pay, so that isn’t the issue. However, an aging population and lack of training in school (think: shop class) have widened the gap.

Simply put, many construction contractors are struggling to keep projects on track with the current policies and best practices they have in place. A growing pool of clients seeking contractors means competitive bidding, and margins are already pinched due to material shortages. Contractors are turning down work because of the labor shortage, and stakeholders are demanding more of their return on investment.

When it comes to comprehensive and effective construction project management and scheduling, contractors must ensure that the right workers are available based on the skills needed during each phase. Get your construction business back on track and future-proof it by taking these steps to close the labor shortage.

Consider Your Criteria

There was a time when contractors could be choosy about the employees they hire and the skillset or experience they may have. It may not be reasonable to limit job requirements or a range of technical skills. Instead, look for candidates willing to learn and implement robust training programs to help them grow within their roles.

Promote from Within

Before you decide to post a job externally, think about the labor you currently have in-house. Have any of your employees mentioned the desire to learn a new role within the business? Are you noticing some workers showing potential within their current role and looking to be promoted? For jobs that require a higher skill level, it could be easier to promote from within and fill the newly vacant positions.

Think About the Extras

When it comes to perks and benefits, think outside the box. Sure, traditional benefits like insurance or retirement resources can go a long way. What would set you apart as a construction business for potential candidates? Consider offering signing bonuses, non-traditional shift options, or remote workdays for back-office or admin employees.

Find Another Platform

If you know that your industry peers and competition are looking for employees on particular platforms or through specific channels, dig into other niches. Women don’t typically make up a great chunk of the construction candidate pool and are often overlooked but are still just as qualified as their male counterparts. There are freelancers you could pursue and industry-specific staffing solutions that can leverage a network of connections to help your construction business fill a role.

Re-evaluate Culture

Ultimately, it’s much easier and more cost-efficient for construction business owners to retain employees than to hire and onboard (not to mention train) new employees. If you’re struggling to fill positions or seeing high turnover, it may be time to take a closer look at work culture. Workers will stay in positions where they are acknowledged for their work, growth, and loyalty to their employer.

Optimize Scheduling

While your construction business works to close labor gaps, make good use of digital scheduling tools. This will ensure that you’re leveraging your current talent on staff without overworking them while also keeping projects on track and on budget. Using scheduling tools can also give construction contractors and business owners a projection of the labor they’ll need for future projects, which will help shape the hiring process.

Ready to find out how you can mitigate the continued challenges faced by construction contractors and business owners? When you add us to your commercial construction project team, you bring 30+ years of experience in engineering and construction to your job site, as well as notable expertise in today’s sophisticated project portfolio management (PPM) software. Contact us today for a consultation!