In recent years, the construction industry has been grappling with its most significant challenge: a shortage of skilled workers. This shortage not only poses obstacles to ongoing projects but also threatens to impede future growth and development in construction and as a result will slow the development and growth of our critical infrastructure, semiconductor fabs and our economy overall. To address this critical issue, it is imperative that construction companies recognize the need to offer enhanced benefits beyond higher wages alone (which is also obviously critical). By strengthening the support systems for construction workers we can attract and retain skilled professionals, ensure their well-being and safeguard the industry’s and our nation’s future prosperity.
1. Enable learning and development, build culture
Construction is an ever-evolving field with new technologies and methodologies emerging constantly. To attract and retain top talent, construction companies must prioritize ongoing education and skill development. By investing in training programs, mentorship opportunities, and certifications employers can demonstrate their commitment to their workers’ growth and equip them with the necessary expertise to excel in their roles. Today’s workers are already demanding ongoing opportunities to improve their skills and we think this will be even truer for the next generation of builders. The same goes for the culture of the enterprise. Construction workers increasingly can and should care about the cultures of the firms in which they work – how people are treated, safety, etc. Culture-building needs to be a deliberate, proactive effort on the part of construction companies.
2. Consider the benefits
Beyond competitive salaries, construction workers should be offered comprehensive benefits packages that address their diverse needs. This includes health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and opportunities for career advancement. By demonstrating a genuine concern for their employees’ overall well-being, construction companies can create a supportive and thriving work environment. This has been standard practive in the white-collar world for decades and there is no reason it should not be in construction.
3. Think about overall financial well-being
Financial stability plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining skilled workers, and it means more than hourly wage rates alone. By providing access to financial planning resources, retirement savings programs, and bonuses tied to performance construction companies can empower their workforces to build a secure future. It should be obvious but when workers feel financially supported they are more likely to stay committed and motivated and therefore to contribute to the industry’s long-term growth.
4. Share the full package
To ensure workers fully understand and appreciate the benefits they might receive transparent and open communication is key. Contractors should clearly outline the comprehensive benefits packages they fofer and provide regular updates on any changes or additions. By fostering an open and honest dialogue construction companies can build trust and loyalty among their workforces. Workers are increasingly doing their own research, visiting company websites, talking to friends and the like before exploring opportunities or going on interviews. If the information isn’t shared, there will be no way for skilled workers to consider it.
5. Create stability
Construction workers understand perhaps better than anyone the effects that the boom and bust economic cycle can have on individual well-being, families and communities. The older generation has seen it all before and is increasingly seeking out career stability at what are typically larger, well-established firms (sometimes even in favor of higher wages). To whatever extent they can large and small firms alike should showcase their robust project pipelines and reassure workers that their roles are long-term and won’t come and go with projects stops and starts.
6. Strengthen the message
To tackle the construction worker shortage head-on, we must start by strengthening the message that the industry sends to potential and existing workers. By highlighting the rewarding aspects of a career in construction and emphasizing the positive impact they can make on society, we can inspire a new generation of skilled individuals to join our ranks.
Take the first step now.
The time to act is now. Every construction company regardless of size has the power to make a positive impact. By enhancing benefits and support systems the industry as a whole can attract new talent, retain experienced workers and create an environment that nurtures growth and success.
The construction industry is at a crossroads and the shortage of skilled workers demands immediate attention and action. By Enabling learning and development and building culture, considering benefits, thinking about overall financial well-being, sharing the full package, creating stability and strengthening the message we can ensure that a thriving construction industry is the backbone of our nation for years to come.
Build a stronger future! Learn how your company can enhance benefits, attract top talent, and contribute to the industry’s prosperity. Take the first step today.