Construction firms try to pull with 'cool'
- Bisnow reported that, at the recent PlanGrid Construction Summit in San Francisco, construction industry executives said they're rethinking their employee recruitment and retention programs in order to meet the demand for both construction management and trade employees.
- Firms like McCarthy Building Cos. are in competition with tech companies for engineers, so Richard Henry, McCarthy's president in the northern Pacific region, said they try to draw in those candidates by showcasing the company's "cool" projects and high-tech tools, in addition to broadening their search to architecture schools and other degree programs. Henry said McCarthy also provides internships and leadership programs that give young workers a glimpse of how their careers will unfold. Companies like TDIndustries are focusing much of their trade recruiting efforts on women and advocating for more career choices at the high school level.
- Retention of younger workers, Henry reportedly told the PlanGrid audience, can be a challenge, as some expect to move up in the ranks to a position on the executive team in just a few years. At TDIndustries, Randee Herrin, senior vice president of new construction, said it is important for those coming into the construction trades to understand the strong career path — with benefits and good wages — they have in front of them.
The construction industry, for the last several years, has been subject to a number of reports that the skilled labor supply is not meeting demand, and the most recent United States Gypsum (USG) + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (CCI) was no exception. The second-quarter 2018 report found that 90% of contractors are concerned about the shortage and that 47% expect their limited ability to adequately staff projects will only get worse as 2018 progresses.
Potentially compounding the problem is President Donald Trump's $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal, which could create even more pressure on the labor market if the administration is able to win approval from federal lawmakers and get new projects up and running.
Money is also a motivator, so construction companies have started offering more financial rewards in their efforts to recruit and retain talent as well. Some contractors are offering bonuses up to $3,000, and wages are finally seeing upward movement. The average construction hourly wage has increased to nearly $30 per hour, and this has started to lure experienced workers into the pool of those looking for work.
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