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How to build your team during a worker shortage

Attracting the attention of both qualified and unskilled workers is crucial to survival during work shortages.

Attracting the attention of both qualified and unskilled workers is crucial to survival during work shortages.

While most construction projects only require a general knowledge of building, there are some aspects that need specialized workers to get them done. However, a 2014 survey by the Associated General Contractors of America reported that 83 percent of respondents couldn't find craft workers and 61 percent were having trouble finding qualified employees. Attracting the attention of both qualified and unskilled workers is crucial to survival.

Competition at an all-time high
With skilled workers lacking in the industry, construction companies are competing for their rivals' employees. By offering higher salaries and better benefits, businesses are winning over qualified contractors, Constructor Magazine explained. Some local firms have stolen workers from 28 percent of respondents, while other companies in the country won over employees from 11 percent.

Increased pay rates have helped to sway qualified professionals from one company to another. Approximately 51 percent of responders increased the base pay to recruit or retain employees, while 46 percent raised salaries to specifically attract craft workers. Base pay increases about 3 percent per year, according to Mike Rose, a consultant with FMI Corporation. Non-pay benefits also attract potential employees' attentions. Bonuses have become performance-based rather than project-based in order to get the best workers for the jobs. Compliance with construction safety also affects workers' benefits.

Attracting new employees
The need for workers is increasing, yet the number of workers remains static. The construction industry needs to attract fresh blood to the jobs. Even though they won't be skilled, they'll be willing to learn how to work on site. The best way to attract new workers is to ensure that job postings catch their eyes. Young workers ages 18 to 35 already come equipped with the skills, such as critical thinking, group planning and deadlines, that construction requires, according to Builder Online. As the industry incorporates more and more technology, companies also need tech-savvy individuals. They're also eager to learn and to earn money. By writing job postings that appeal to all those attributes, contractors will have a new set of workers.

"A company culture that matches their philosophy, opportunity for advancement and a work-life balance are intangibles that today's employee, especially younger employees, find attractive," Rose told Constructor Magazine.

By 2016, construction projects will require 50 percent more workers than are available today, Builder Online reported. With that number and 83 percent of construction firms already struggling to find and retain skilled workers, it's important for companies to bring in the young workforce and train them to fill the need positions.