How Project Managers Can Overcome Labor Shortages: 4 Key Strategies

Wednesday, 12 January
White and yellow helmet with construction water,gloves and radio that are placed on steel house fence.-cm

It’s no secret. The construction industry is facing a worsening shortage of talent brought on by a confluence of issues including an aging workforce, lack of interest among younger professionals, and increasing demand for construction projects. Here, we’ll look at some ways project managers can overcome these labor challenges to continue growing their business into the future.

The current state of the construction labor market.

Every year, the Associated General Contractors of America conducts an industry-wide survey to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing project managers and construction business owners. The most recent survey highlighted the labor challenges in the space. Here are just a few alarming numbers:

  • 61% of firms are expecting project delays due to worker shortages.
  • 86% of construction businesses are struggling to fill salaried positions, and 89% are having trouble filling hourly positions.
  • 74% of firms have a need to hire employees in the next year.

The numbers are clear. The demand for skilled labor is there, but there’s a limit of available talent. So, how can businesses overcome these labor shortages? Let’s dig into it.

Tips for overcoming the labor shortage.

1.    Look to the veteran community.

A variety of common misconceptions about military veterans pervade the management level in the construction industry. Generally, the conclusion drawn from these myths is that veterans don’t make good craftsmen. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Military veterans bring an abundance of transferrable skills to the job site including leadership, problem-solving, innovation, and strong work ethic. More than most employees, veterans know what it’s like to work as a part of a close-knit team to reach a specific goal. Tapping into this misunderstood portion of the civilian workforce is a great way to overcome labor shortages and build a strong, capable, and dynamic team.

2.    Invest in your team members.

One of the biggest hurdles facing project managers is high turnover rates. In fact, one out of every five employees hired in the construction industry doesn’t work out. This turnover rate is significantly higher than the national average which hovers between 12% and 15%. It’s even worse among younger craftsmen with turnover rates reaching 64% for employees 24 and younger. Employers can combat these alarmingly high numbers by investing in their team members. A massive study conducted by LinkedIn found that 93% of the workforce would stay in a position longer if employers were willing to invest more in their career development. This can come in the form of increased pay, improved benefits, and greater upward mobility.

3.    Create an unbeatable company culture.

Competitive pay, robust benefits, and other concrete incentives are effective strategies for overcoming labor shortages, but these arent’ the only things employees want to see. There are less tangible but no less important elements that make up your company’s culture. This is loosely defined as the attitudes, practices, values, and goals shared by your organization. Building an attractive and welcoming company culture can increase employee satisfaction and reduce expensive turnover. Here’s how:

  • Place an emphasis on the safety and wellness of your employees
  • Lead by example instead of prescribing
  • Embrace the naturally occurring elements of company culture
  • Encourage a social connection between team members
  • Promote positivity, confidence, and teamwork
4.    Work with an experienced staffing agency.

There’s a ton of moving parts in a fully-functioning construction site. As a project manager, you know that better than anyone. Every minute you have to commit to scouting, hiring, and onboarding new employees is time you have to take from other critical areas of your business. That means fewer project bids, less oversight, and lower output overall. But it’s impossible to run a successful construction business without investing significant time in staffing, right? Well, not exactly. Working with a construction staffing agency gives you the talented craftsmen you need to succeed without siphoning valuable time and energy from other important areas. It’s a win-win!

Struggling to overcome the labor shortages plaguing the construction industry? We’ve got you covered! For decades, Madden Craftsmen has been handling the staffing needs for construction companies throughout the northwest. Contact us today to kickstart the process or to learn more about what we do. Let’s build something together.

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