In an environment of low unemployment, snow contractors compete with more industries for reliable workers. Jobs like low-skilled fast food workers and cashiers to higher-skilled maintenance and manufacturing all poach from the available labor pool we are trying to access. Construction has been scrambling for workers particularly hard post-recession. The industry has created about 200,000 jobs a year since 2015, and the industry is predicting a deficit of 1.6 million workers by 2022. Here are a few tips construction companies use to help recruit and retain workers:
- Create a safe place to work. Companies with a culture of safety are more attractive to skilled workers who are shopping around for the best jobs.
- Carefully screen job applicants. Replacing employees is difficult and expensive. Retention is an effective way to keep crews staffed.
- Constantly train employees. Help employees keep their skills up to date, and encourage long-timers to mentor and pass their knowledge on to newcomers. Enlist manufacturers of the products you buy to train your crews.
- Coach the employees of the future. Work with high schools to identify students who are not suited for the four-year college track, and redirect them to apprenticeships and training programs that prepare them to work in the industry.
- Crank up pay and benefits. When there’s stiff competition for crews and contracts, the employer with the best perks and pay is likely to win at recruiting.
- Cater to older employees. Offer the same training opportunities to middle-aged workers as to the younger crews, and take their needs into consideration when evaluating jobsite safety.
- Catch them on the rebound. Is there a closing Sam’s Club or Sears by you? Understand your local economy so you can capitalize on shifting dynamics in retail and other service or manufacturing jobs.