The steady growth of the construction industry has proven to be a double-edged sword in recent years. Business is booming, following a surge in spending in 2023—but with every new construction project comes significant workforce challenges for the companies that take them on.
It’s no secret that skilled labor is increasingly hard to find. The construction industry has yet to recover from a steep 40% drop in job applications between 2019 and 2020. Additional factors, like the field’s aging workforce and high attrition, will continue to bog companies down.
In this landscape, the most successful construction businesses will be those that implement innovative recruitment strategies to attract star candidates. Here are six construction recruiting tips you can put into action to stand out.
1. Build Your Employer Brand
Hiring construction workers should be an ongoing effort. Even if you don’t actively need new hires, your employer branding efforts should be ongoing. This way, by the time new projects come up, skilled trade workers will already be familiar with and engaged in your company.
Some employer branding opportunities include:
- Sharing testimonials from current employees
- Highlighting elements of your culture in your marketing, including your mission and values
- Featuring employees and what they do in their roles
- Creating a dedicated employee career page that highlights your culture
2. Develop an Employee Referral Program
Your current network is filled with your greatest advocates. Developing an ongoing employee referral program can be an excellent way to connect with potential candidates and grow your network of skilled workers. Consider offering incentives—like cash bonuses and gift cards—to people who successfully refer new hires.
3. Emphasize Safety in Your Marketing
The construction industry has a bad reputation for being unsafe. In fact, 73% of young people find the field unappealing because they believe it’s dangerous. If you want to get the best results from your construction recruiting efforts, you need to emphasize how your company keeps workers safe.
In your marketing and throughout the interview process, share the rules and precautions you’ve established to protect employees from injury and illness. This reassurance can make you a destination employer in the construction industry.
4. Collaborate with Local Schools
Engaging younger generations is critical to long-term growth in the construction industry. The percentage of construction workers who were 55 and older nearly doubled between 2003 and 2020, showing declining interest in the field. However, you can secure your workforce by developing long-term partnerships with trade schools to funnel new skilled workers into your company after graduation.
As part of these partnerships, you can offer workshops, as well as internships and apprenticeships that lead directly to employment. This guaranteed career path can be enticing for students. At the same time, the hands-on experience you provide can counter some of the misconceptions younger generations have about the field—including viewpoints that the field is technologically behind.
5. Offer Enticing Sign-up Bonuses
Across industries, better compensation is the top priority for job seekers. As skilled workers consider new opportunities, they can be expected to seek higher income and improved benefits. While excellent pay can be enticing to potential candidates, a sign-up bonus can help you further stand out. In fact, it can be the very reason applicants choose you over a competitor.
Be sure to set a minimum employment term for your sign-up bonus to maximize retention.
6. Partner with a Construction Recruitment Agency
One of the best ways to secure skilled labor is by working with experienced construction recruiters as new projects arise. Skilled trades staffing agencies take the weight off your shoulders throughout the construction hiring process and beyond—taking care of everything from recruiting to payroll—while providing the best-fit candidates for your team.
At Skinner, our construction placements are selected from well-vetted skilled workers in our exclusive network—including both passive and active candidates—to help you build a strong workforce for every project efficiently.