Overcoming the shortage of site workers in the construction industry 

The labor outlook for the construction industry appears grim. To satisfy the growing demand, contractors will be required to recruit approximately 546,000 workers in 2023. This figure is in addition to the industry’s regular rate of hiring, as stated in a recent analysis conducted by the Associated Builders and Contractors. Meaning that the bar for getting better employees is only raised higher. 

Why do contractors need good staff?

Construction businesses rely on people. For most contractors, staff is their real asset, and businesses are built around people. For example, carpenters need experienced craftsmen because they are the ones on whom owners can rely. Equipment and machines in the construction industry can be very expensive and they must be operated by people who take care of them. Their safety and care for their work must be top notch. 

Why is the shortage getting only worse?

Staff in the construction industry are getting older as more younger people are willing to work in offices instead of the field. Conditions on the field are not always the best ones. People have to work under most weather conditions, and often they can become tough. I myself have been working in the summer doing insulation work when the outside temperature has been above 86 Fahrenheit and in the winter when the temperature has been below 0 Fahrenheit, not to mention wind and rain. Often, when working under such extreme weather conditions, you are obligated to take regular breaks. 

So far, I have found two successful ways how contractors are dealing with the shortage of site workers.

Perform work under the roof

More and more construction work is now happening in factories under roofs where the work environment can be controlled. Concrete slabs and walls are cast in factories and delivered to the site as finished products, meaning that many hours of manual labor work on site are moved in house. More often, houses are prefabricated in factories and shipped to the site as almost finished houses. They can be delivered to the sites as containers, and the only work to be done on them is assembling them and finishing joints. 

This way of solving staff shortages can require significant investments, and this may not work for every trade contractor.

Taking care of staff

Another way to deal with staff shortages and acquire the best talent is by taking care of them. Salary is not always a deal breaker because, anyway, in most countries salaries are regulated by unions. 

Employees are looking for companies where they are valued, where they can learn new skills, and where they can reach their potential. No one is willing to work under conditions where management is putting a lot of pressure on the shoulders of employees. 

More and more contractors are working with agencies that help them build their PR and brand awareness. These agencies are specialized working with contractors and they help contractors show the real people who are behind them; they share the stories of people who work on site, what problems they overcome, and the fun stuff. Such a strategy gains recognition, and whenever your potential employee comes and visits your website or your social media account, they can imagine working with you. This strategy also motivates existing employees and increases their productivity. 

Change or stagnate 

The construction industry is on the verge of change, and construction companies are already changing. More of the work is now done under the roof, where conditions can be controlled. While others are emphasizing more the people who are behind every great bridge, road, or house we live in. People who actually laid the foundations for our homes or paved the way for us! 

Author – Emil Berzins. Follow me on