In a recent national survey by the Associated General Contractors of America, fully 86% of construction firms questioned are having trouble filling salaried and/or hourly positions.
Specialized tradespeople held the top positions needing to be filled: Carpenters, at 73%, Sheet metal installers at 65% and concrete workers at 63%. Electricians, plumbers and roofers were not far behind.
It is likely that your business is facing the same issues. As the construction industry continues on it’s slow but steady uptrend, this issue will only become more pressing. And it is looking to remain a long-term challenge.
Some blame this shortage on the school system putting emphasis on computer-based jobs with the arrival, explosive growth and omnipresence of the Internet. But in fact, although just about everyone uses computers now, it doesn’t mean their job should require that they sit in front of one all day.
Some people are good with their hands i.e. good at building things. The long-term challenge is making these people aware of their talents and the benefits of investing in learning a construction trade.
There are the obvious benefits. It’s a known fact that skilled construction trade jobs pay well. Not only that, the current shortage in the construction industry is leading many companies to attract qualified labour by increasing base pay rates, paying more overtime and providing incentives and bonuses. But as an employer don’t want to rely solely on money to attract and retain people.
Here’s an interesting series of article on more benefits of working in skilled trades
In Ohio, the local chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America has established a website that is aimed squarely at getting young people to think about construction jobs as a way to make a living. It shows them descriptions of the various trades, the average pay scale and the education needed to learn the trade. It is a good reference for future workers, no matter what region you are in.
In the long term however, there is nothing like getting directly involved in your community to drive awareness. Although the following might be outside your comfort zone, it can also give you visibility that your competitors won’t have.
Are there local schools or you can team up with in order to build awareness of the advantages of working in the construction industry? You could, for example
- Get invited to give an in-class presentation on the advantages of learning a construction trade (with a demonstration, maybe? That’s always cool)
- Sponsor a school activity
- Have a booth and give out information at the next school expo
- Write a small article for the school’s or institution’s website.
- You could also sponsor an article in the local newspaper or present at local charitable associations.
Keep in mind that even if you don’t like being in front of crowds or writing, there is surely someone in your company or an acquaintance of yours who does. You could hire this person to do the work.
It is a very good time for specialized tradespeople. It’s just that not enough young people are being made aware of this opportunity. If you’re the one reaching out within your community and getting these potential workers to think about construction trade, they will remember you.