PlanGrid Construction Productivity Blog

Improve Your Construction Recruitment in One Easy Step

Attract the next generation of construction workers by giving them the best tools in the field

Although people have been reporting on the construction industry’s labor shortage for over four years now, the threat to your bottom line isn’t over yet. Actually, with both turnover and wages rising, labor costs pose a bigger threat to your budget than before. The labor shortage may all come down to supply and demand, but you can’t afford to passively wait for fancy economic theories to balance out in your favor. Instead, you need a competitive construction recruitment strategy.  


The construction industry is not the only industry hunting for new talent, meaning your construction recruitment strategy is contending with other industries in addition to your competitors. As such, you need to create a workplace that can attract and retain top talent.

There’s a number of factors to consider in order to maintain a competitive edge over other companies and industries. And, despite what you may think, this process doesn’t revolve around compensation. As the labor pool gets younger, technology becomes more important.

Don’t miss out on your next big contract because you can’t staff the job. Building technology into your company’s hiring narrative and culture will make you more attractive to potential new employees while also giving your existing team members a reason to stay.  

Retain Good Employees

A TINYpulse industry survey shows that construction workers generally rank high in job happiness. Despite this high happiness index, the Bureau of Labor Statistics still reports that construction has one of the highest turnover rates of all industries at 21.4%. As shocking as it sounds, if your company is anything close to average, you could expect to see nearly a quarter of all your employees leave at some point this year.

Sure, you could chalk this up to the reality of operating in a project-based industry. However, considering that each turnover costs you about 16%-20% of that person’s base salary, you shouldn’t take that high turnover rate lightly. Furthermore, when you add up the intangible costs like an efficiency reduction, lowered morale, and damage to the company’s reputation, the costs of turnover skyrocket.

So, while an aggressive hiring campaign may seem like the obvious solution to your labor shortage, it turns out that acquiring new employees can be pretty cost prohibitive. For a better return on your investment, spend that construction recruitment money on the talent you already have.

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Improve Team Experience

Construction projects typically involve a lot of specialized roles and you could easily waste a lot of time and money figuring out how to make everyone’s day more enjoyable. So, before you bend over backward chasing high retention numbers, figure out a way to improve your team’s day-to-day in a scalable way.

Although everyone on the jobsite has their own personal pain point, there is one that seems to be particularly common. Indeed, 26% of construction workers in the TINYpulse industry survey said they are frustrated by the lack of tools they need to do their jobs better. With such a diverse and specialized work environment, discovering a way to make over a quarter of your workforce happier makes your choice clear. It’s time to upgrade your team’s toolbox.

If you’re not sure where to start improving your tool set remember that you’re competing against other companies and industries. So, you’ll have to do better than a new set up power drills. Instead, new technology like mobile construction productivity software and the hardware that goes with it is what will make you stand out.

Happy employees work harder and faster, and the competition can’t easily steal them. Additionally, employees that feel treated well will pass on positive reviews about their jobs to their networks—making your construction recruitment efforts a bit easier.

Invest in People

Despite promising survey results, new tools alone can’t guarantee employee happiness. As a matter of fact, that same TINYpulse survey found that more than half of construction employees don’t feel they have strong opportunities for professional growth. New tools can’t make your employee’s lives easier if they don’t know how to use them.

Preparing trained and skilled labors and professionals requires time but you can expedite the process while incorporating the only thing that TINYpulse found construction workers like more than new tools: each other. For instance, 34% of the happiest employees say their peers and colleagues drive their workplace satisfaction. You can tap into these two big insights by setting up a training and mentoring program.

This way, your veteran builders can teach any new employees the building skills they haven’t cultivated yet, and that the newly hired employees can provide technology training to those who are less experienced. Plus, by providing training, you’ll be able to better identify the people who are interested in staying with your company to become the next generation of leadership and management.

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Attract Qualified People

Ultimately, the most important aspect of your retention strategy is hiring the right people up front. Just like any good construction project, you need to be careful to measure twice and cut once. So, sketch out a plan first and delineate specifically what you need in a new employee.

These days, jobsites increasingly utilize cutting-edge technologies like mobile productivity software, drones, 3D printing. Workers need to be interested in or already able to successfully operate more modern technology. By emphasizing the value of technology in your construction projects, you can attract a type of applicant better suited to your needs, saving valuable time interviewing incompatible candidates.

Engage More Prospects

The recruiting experts at Monster have a novel suggestion for finding qualified prospective employees during this labor shortage: look for people with similar skill sets in different fields. While it’s true that the Great Recession forced a lot of people out of the construction industry, it didn’t make them disappear into thin air. Instead, they sought work elsewhere in fields with overlapping areas of expertise.

Consider people like the engineers and project managers found in the IT sector in your construction recruitment strategy. They have a lot of the exact skills you need for your company but will want to see good tech in place before contemplating a move. Similarly, a lot of oil and gas workers will have the same underlying skill sets but may expect access to high-quality technology. If you take this path, be sure your company has the best tools available to make sure your company is setup to successfully keep any workers you lure from these other industries.

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Filter Unqualified Candidates

A report from U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows that contractors aren’t just worried about finding applicants but are also concerned about their skill levels. Since technology is at the core of the construction industry, it is important to have a technology filter for candidates. This filter will ensure you hire people that not only accept, but champion, your beliefs.

You should view interviewing as an honest effort to find a good employment match—don’t hesitate to be picky. You could easily end up with an employee unsuited to the job or not ready for where you want to take your company as it grows. But, if you stress how important technology is to your company’s day-to-day operations, you can filter out anyone who isn’t able or willing to help move your company forward.

At the end of the day, you have a finite pool of workers from which to choose. Anything you can do to make your company more attractive to both prospective and current employees will move your company ahead of the competition. Implementing the right technology will address these construction recruitment needs by attracting quality candidates and ensuring your current employees feel supported enough to give you their best work for years to come.

Amy Wolfenberger

PlanGrid Content Marketing Specialist