6 Myths Creating Construction Recruiting Challenges

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Construction recruiting can seem like a struggle. There's a good chance you're making it more difficult for yourself than you have to. Recruitment challenges are real, but the idea that they can't be solved is a myth. For every myth, there's a real fix waiting out there for you to use.

Myth #1: Construction just doesn't pay well.

You hear the rumor regularly that construction demands a large amount of labor without enough pay. It's true that many construction jobs ask for hard work, but the jobs do pay well.

Consider first that advancement is a real possibility, especially with the average construction worker becoming older. Many higher positions will be opening up, and project managers can easily top $100,000 a year.

Plumbers, electricians, and other skilled workers can earn well over $50,000 annually. These careers also are remarkably accessible: they require an apprenticeship or training.

Construction workers can make a comfortable living, and these avenues for becoming more specialized must be made clear in recruitment. Many managers don't want to admit that today's skilled labor is aging out of their specializations, but new workers want to heart this. Managers fear seeming needy, but if there's something you actually need, make this clear. Stress that there is a need for today's workers to pick up tomorrow's specialized, well-paying jobs as soon as they possibly can.

Myth #2: All construction is hard.

Physical labor is tough, and one of the most difficult recruitment challenges to overcome is the idea that construction jobs wear down the body. This is based on a view of construction that's decades old. Sure, there's some physical labor, but with today's regulations and technology, there's much less direct strain for workers to sustain.

Beyond this, not all jobs require physical labor. Many desk and design jobs are available, as are jobs scouting out work sites or estimating costs and budgets. Many jobs offer the opportunity to be outside without doing strenuous physical work. A significant part of the job is done before anyone lifts a single thing at the construction site.

Communicate the need for all the positions you want to fill, and express the nature of these positions. Many like the idea of being outside, helping to scout out and plan projects as part of a team with new technology – yet they don't know that construction offers this.

Myth #3: You'll be in hazardous conditions.

Construction work usually happens outside of any kind of extremely hazardous condition. Nobody's climbing unprotected on scaffolding 70 stories up any more. Why do that when you can use a drone or a crane? The construction industry's risk factors have been minimized through regulations and technology.

Workers are required to have training to keep themselves and each other safe in any kind of environment. In any environment that may pose a hazardous condition, workers will always have this knowledge ahead of time and the freedom to opt out of it.

As mentioned in the last point, there are many jobs that don't even involve any kind of interaction with hazards.

Myth #4: A college degree means I'm overqualified.

A college degree certainly isn't needed in many construction jobs, but it can provide a big step up. There are many positions in project management, business management, economics, architecture, and administration that value degree holders.

Remember to communicate that the narrow view of what a construction job entails isn't realistic. The number of opportunities is vast, and there's a range of education and skills those opportunities truly value.

Myth #5: Automation means construction is a dead-end industry.

The same things that make construction less labor-intensive and less hazardous today often worry people about erasing jobs in the industry. This isn't the case. In fact, construction may be one of the industries that's best insulated from automation.

Automation hasn't had the kind of impact on the construction industry that it has in manufacturing and similar industries. There's still a huge demand for skilled and unskilled labor. Point out that automation has often empowered the construction industry and created more opportunities. Not every industry responds to automation the same way.

If automation in the construction industry offers anything, it's opportunity to advance. The chance to operate this machinery can give someone the training and skills to be very desired throughout their career.

Myth #6: There just aren't good candidates for hire.

One of the challenges of construction recruiting rests in the quality of the candidates you find. If you have a high proportion of candidates who seem uninspired, under-qualified, or unhappy with the work, it doesn't mean that this is just the way today's workers are. More likely, it means you're searching for candidates in the wrong way.

Traditional methods of construction recruiting often rely on finding those who are desperate for work and who may prefer another type of job over construction. Certainly, many of these kind of workers may adapt and find something they love to do in construction. Recruitment challenges are all made so much more insurmountable when these are the only kind of candidates you're finding, however.

Take a minute and think about your business's capability for recruitment, hiring, and human resources administration. Are you completely outfitted and resourced to do each well? Many businesses aren't, and so when they recruit they just don't have the resources to focus on the process in a way that's efficient and productive. Recognize if your process is bogged down or requires too much work for the result.

In this case, consider a staffing agency that focuses in labor recruitment. They can basically act as a fully resourced recruiting, hiring, and human resources department for you. Recognize that this is what they focus on, this is what they're good at, and if they have good reach across the region, they can bring you far more qualified and enthusiastic candidates who are better fits for all positions. Doing that work yourself often costs more in lost productivity and bad hires than trusting a professional service like Labor For Hire to come through on your behalf.

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