There’s a few blog topics I hear about frequently—no matter what angle the writer takes. For starters, employee morale, lowering costs, Apple vs Android, the list goes on. Recently I saw one of the popular topics come to life: the lack of skilled construction labor available for hire. I told my company I’d be eager to lend a hand in recruiting for a commercial carpenter given the considerable amount of new work JH Greene has been taking on recently. I quickly learned it’s a different world than the recruiting I was once accustomed to.
Although a different market, a Chicago Tribune article by reporter Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz summed it up perfectly: “The construction workforce, which thinned out dramatically as work dried up during the economic downturn, is only three-quarters what it was pre-recession. Project demand, meanwhile, is booming.”
So how is this situation tackled?
Kimmel & Associates offers some potential solutions that seem within reach. Here’s my understanding of their points—and to be honest, I think they’ve got some strong grounds for progress.
1. Engage the community:
Reinforce the value in blue collar work and make this known within a local vicinity. This is possible through sponsored events promoting trade skill education to youth, or even promotion of a construction company as a strong employer with job security and a relaxed culture. Emphasize the pros of pursuing skilled labor careers as a stronger alternative to white collar work for many. Everyone’s different—but there are many cases where people can sway with the crowd’s choice. Someone stronger in a skilled labor role may make a choice for white collar work if all their friends do so. Engagement with the community can encourage a younger work force to embrace skilled trades. This can easily be tackled in coordination with local schools and colleges.
2. Lead by Example:
Kimmel & Associates also points out that by having a strong speaker to convey the value of skilled labor roles through a personal account, incorrect assumptions can be addressed and recruitment in construction can potentially see some sort of revitalization.
3. Make the right connections:
Pursue relationships with recent immigrants and new citizens who are in search of work in an unfamiliar country. These people are eager to develop in their new surroundings and work hard to do so. Training programs can offer a great solution to integrate these eager laborers into any processes in place while also acclimating them further in new surroundings.
Once these valuable employees are found and trained, the next most important piece is retaining the talent. This involves a ton of elements, but in my opinion, employee retention can be simplified into clear and open communication. As long as feedback is heard and valued, all other parts can fall more easily into place.
Is an uptick in sight? I certainly hope so—but until then, value the dedicated construction laborer assets you have. These employees are few and far between.
If you’re interested or know someone who would be interested in joining a top notch construction team in the field, look no further: https://app1.clearfit.com/apply/JHG0001-4ZSJ?ps=ref#/job