Difficulty Getting Skilled Talent in Construction

Everyone is having trouble securing skilled talent, and the construction industry is no exception. The industry’s woes began in 2013, shortly after the financial crisis, and have continued to accelerate with no evidence of slowing down.  

The lack of skilled talent can be attributed to two main causes. First, during the financial crisis, more commonly known as the Great Recession, nearly 2,000,000 construction workers lost their jobs and moved to other industries. Many of those construction workers never returned to the industry, even as construction began to rebound. The second cause is both generational and cultural. Baby boomers are reaching retirement age at a staggering rate of 10,000 per day, and the next generation of workers is just not large enough to fill the vacuum. In addition, American society has not directed our youth to consider careers in construction or the trades. The construction industry has experienced an inferiority complex for decades. However, apprenticeship and degree programs are being instituted at high schools and higher learning institutions and will hopefully, over time, inspire younger generations of workers that careers in construction and the trades are very lucrative.  

So, what can a company in the construction industry do to alleviate this problem? Today’s construction employers must understand that to obtain talent they need to focus on talent attraction rather than talent acquisition (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/talent-acquisition-out-attraction-neeljym/?trackingId=APhHe1sbwfgjLGdqavPO8A%3D%3D). Winning in talent attraction requires a formal recruiting and onboarding process. It is important for employers to understand that those processes are a candidate’s first impression of your company. An established and professional process can give a candidate confidence that joining your organization is a good move for their career. A more formal process is beneficial for employers too as it allows for a more comprehensive assessment of the candidate’s skill set. Another area employers should evaluate is their culture. Seek improvements where necessary, but more importantly, determine how to gauge if a candidate is a culture fit. It has been our experience that skill set and culture mismatches lead to low retention rates.