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3 ways to win the construction talent war

Posted on Friday, Jun 30, 2017

Hays Blog - 3 ways to win the construction talent warIn this year’s construction salary guide we found that two-thirds of construction employers intend to hire this year, and 89% say there’s a moderate to extreme skills shortage. With an expected rate of growth of six percent per year for the next four years, according to marketwatch.com, this isn’t likely to ease soon.

High growth, plus high demand for talent, and fewer people coming into the industry means your hiring challenges are going to get harder, not easier. So how can you get ahead in that kind of talent market?

Here are three ways to more easily find and hire the talent you need.

1. Know and meet market expectations
You have to know what candidates are expecting. What are the going rates for project managers in your city and sector? Are your salary bands within that range? This is about both attraction and retention. If you’re not meeting expectations then you’ll lose top candidates, but you also need to make sure that your current employees don’t think they have to leave the company to get a raise. Don’t let your salary levels slip outside normal range or you’ll lose valuable employees.

You can also stand out by offering top benefits. Some benefits matter more than others. Our research shows that vacation and healthcare are the biggest priorities, but other benefits like flexible work options and training can be differentiators to separate you from your competition. Keep in mind that different benefits matter more to different generations so baby boomers might still want a company car, but millennials don’t prioritize it as much.

2. Diversify your workforce to find new talent pools
One way to expand that talent pool is to make sure that you are looking at everyone, not just a section of the workforce. The construction industry still has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to diversity, especially in management and senior roles. If you are seen to be hiring and promoting women and visible minorities, supporting LGBT staff, and offering opportunities for construction professionals of all ages then you will attract people who identify with those groups.

Candidates often self-select where they apply, or don’t apply, based on whether they think the company would hire them and make them feel welcome. Showcase a diverse range of employees on your website and in hiring content so women and other under-represented groups feel welcome.

You can also join community groups, associations and other organizations that can connect you directly with those individuals. We recently put together a gender diversity report for the US and it looks at ways to attract and retain more female candidates. So if that’s one of your company’s focuses I suggest requesting it.

3. Offer relocation support to find out-of-state and international experts
Does hiring from outside your region seem like too much effort or cost? If you’re competing against many other firms, for a very limited talent pool, then you are likely to have to settle for what is available, or manage with a gap on your team until an appropriate candidate is found. The right person can change your company so it’s worth making every effort to find and hire that person, no matter where they might be.

Finding candidates may mean expanding your search to include other cities, states, or countries. Work with recruiters who work across multiple states or countries to find those workers, and once you’ve found them offer relocation support to bring them on board. Lots of construction professionals are open to moving, if the process is easy and the destination is appealing. If you’re recruiting outside your city, make sure your job ads don’t just sell the role, but also the location. What makes your city a great place to live? The USA is a popular destination globally, so attract international workers by offering visa and legal immigration support.

Get more tips for winning top talent. Watch our 20 minute toolbox webinar.

Talk to James Hawley, Hays EVP, about the US Construction market.

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