Labor shortage is not a new problem for the construction industry, in fact, contractors have had to deal with labor shortage issues for decades. However, it is undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic exaggerated the issue and its impact. The demand for labor has increased recently, however, most of the skilled labor force is aging out so the shortage is at an all-time high in the industry.
It is extremely important for contractors to maximize efforts and be more strategic with their workforce. Workforce limitations only result in project delays and most contractors do not have enough time to hire new employees when the project requires it. It is important for contractors to be proactive and plan in advance to avoid having to deal with such issues. As a contractor, you need to have the foresight to handle constraints before they arise instead of scrambling to fill the gaps while the project is underway.
Plan Before Bidding on Projects
A lot of contractors only plan for the projects that they have been awarded. If you intend on pursuing a project, it is important to plan for it before bidding on the project. A lot of contractors make the mistake of bidding on projects without first considering whether they have the people to be able to successfully complete the job. If you are trying to combat labor shortage issues you need to add project pursuits in your planning so you are not scrambling if you do end up winning the bid. Planning beforehand will also give you an insight into your company’s capacity to take on any new jobs.
One way to deal with labor shortage issues is by having a recruitment strategy in place. If your human resource department and recruitment teams have enough time, they will be able to find the best candidates to fill the positions. Make sure to have a system in place that is informed by your project plans. If the recruitment teams have enough time and are aware of the workforce demands for the projects the company will be pursuing, they will have an easier time hiring qualified workers. In order to deal with labor shortage issues and combat the high costs of employee turnover your company needs to plan for recruitment early on.
Filling Skills Gap
Labor shortage issues are not always about not having enough people to complete the project. Sometimes it indicates a shortage of skilled workforce as is the case right now. According to reports, recently, the number of entry-level workers has increased by 72%, however, the total number of workers has only seen a 25% increase. This difference indicates a huge skills gap. In order to deal with this issue, you need to focus on developing the people who are already working for you.
As a contractor, you should have a system in place to track the experience, certifications, and career trajectories of your employees. Having this kind of data will allow you to see if your workers are not developing as they should. When employees are used to fill gaps, it is likely that they would not develop at the rate they should.