The biggest challenge with construction recruitment has always been the absence of critical information on both sides of the transaction — construction companies have no visibility into a worker’s skills or aptitude (the best any platform provides today is an online business card) and workers have no visibility into the important wage and non-wage characteristics of the company (no solution today offers this in construction despite workers today seeking a broader set of benefits and workplace characteristics when making decisions about where to work).

Basically, a “good fit” today between a skilled construction worker and employer is achieved by chance, not by science and as a consequence, the recruitment process is slow, labor-intensive and results in poor hiring and retention outcomes.

We believe the following approach is necessary to help reimagine construction recruitment and solve the world’s skilled trade crisis:

Phase 1 – Use taxonomy and bi-directional algorithms to generate more custom matches to reduce turnover so companies need less supply.

Phase 2 – Expand the solution to create personalized pathways into the trades for high-potential workers to grow the supply of talent.

Use bi-directional data to improve retention
Use taxonomy and bi-directional algorithms to generate more custom matches resulting in less turnover.

All of the company executives we talk to state that hiring and retaining skilled talent is their #1 priority. We also see tailwinds towards contractors looking to do more self-perform work which will further compound the importance of this problem. This ties in well with the fact that 90% of our members report seeking permanent employment. We see that “belonging” to a company is more important today than the purported freedoms of gig work. We plan to ride this trend with our emphasis on retention and solving for “net hires”.

We believe that by taxonomizing the worker across critical dimensions of ability (hard skill, certifications, work experience, tools & equipment) and the company across their wage and non-wage characteristics of work (starting salaries, salary growth velocity, skills, experience, benefits, culture, autonomy, flexibility, support, career growth, ESL, women-friendliness etc) we can customize our bi-directional algorithms to make increasingly personalized matches to meet our customer’s individual needs and produce both a faster, cheaper and smarter hiring experience but also a significantly better retention rate (the most common north star metric of our customers).

It’s early days but our performance with early customer Messer Construction provides reason for optimism in being able to achieve this goal – In the last 6 months, Skillit has placed 23% of new hires in their Nashville region and our members today represent 38% of their net hires which translates into a +204% improvement in retention against all other solutions.

Expand reach and grow supply
Provide diverse and high-potential workers personalized pathways into the industry.

Today our approach targets highly skilled active job seekers, screens predominantly for ability and experience and seeks to place the best at customers looking to hire job-ready skilled workers.

Longer term, our approach would extend to also include latent green-shoot workers who possess only leading indicators of skilled trade ability (e.g. temperament, personality, mechanical aptitude etc) and seek to build for these cohorts a personalized two-way pathway into realizing a career at one or more of our customers.

For example, imagine DPR Construction has a large multi-year project in Southern California with a native Spanish-speaking jobsite foreman. Skillit would build a custom digital pathway catering to new (and possibly soon-to-be) immigrants from LatAm. It would be bilingual, highlight the ESL and relocation benefits of working at DPR and promote the economic and quality-of-life growth of former [DPR] apprentices who today are better able to provide for their families.

Imagine this applied to high-school seniors, women, minorities, recent immigrants from all countries, second-chance citizens, factory workers whose jobs are subject to immediate automation etc.

By screening these cohorts for leading indicators of skilled trade ability and building for them a deeply personalized pathway into companies for whom there would be a perfect bi-directional match, we believe Skillit could significantly expand the size and quality of the skilled trade labor funnel for our customers and the industry at large.