Perhaps this goes without saying, but the combination of the uptick in work and the lack of talent is creating the perfect storm. Naturally, the question become: What are the best ways to enlist new workers to join the construction industry? Let’s explore.
Entering 2022, FMI Corp., expects construction spending to increase by 5% this year. The latest NRCI (Nonresidential Construction Index) feedback suggests continued optimism heading into the first quarter of 2022, at 54.8, up slightly from 53.8 in the prior quarter. The index has dropped from highs nearing 60 in the third quarter of 2021 but remains expansionary and suggests increased opportunities for engineering and construction ahead. But that growth will be offset by inflation, supply chain snags, a shortage of workers, and project delays.
Let’s tackle one of the issues now: shortage of workers. A new study suggests insights into worker recruitment and retention. A survey of civil contractors and engineers conducted in November 2021, produced by Dodge Construction Network, shows most contractors believe that good benefits and a reputation for high pay are the best ways to recruit workers, with a greater emphasis on high pay to help recruit workers under 30 years of age.
Respondents also believe the best way to increase the skilled labor force is to increase enrollment in technical high schools and vocational training. The study shows there is no consistent way in which civil contractors recruit workers, but the top three means used are traditional advertisements, working with industry organizations, and working with local trade unions. Of these, the most effective is working with local trade unions.
Perhaps we need to dig deeper and identify different recruiting methods by generation across all industries. Roughly 23% of Gen Z candidates have experienced an almost exclusively digital hiring experience, compared to 14% of Millennials, according to Monster recruiting data. In fact, 46% of Gen Z’ers have applied for a job or internship from a mobile device, compared to 38% of employed Millennials.
The more important question might be: What do the different generations actually want out of a career? Many Millennials entered the workforce looking for flexibility: They wanted to work from home, they wanted a four-day work week, they wanted the freedom to launch a business on the side. Gen Z, on the other hand, seem to prioritize a good salary, according to Monster.
Do you agree? Are these the top priorities of most workers? What is missing? What else needs to be considered?
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