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Construction industry recruitment: Attracting and retaining new talent

todayOctober 15, 2021


The construction industry has adapted well throughout the last two years, but it’s still sometimes a problem to find new recruits. So, Kelly Friel from the construction tools expert, Zoro, has put together some top tips for attracting the best and brightest candidates to your business.

The construction industry was quick to find and implement measures to keep workers safe throughout 2020, but many firms are still facing problems with attracting quality staff. There are lots of things you can do to ensure that your recruitment processes will attract the best people for the roles you have available, and this will become necessary as this sector is expected to reach 2019 levels of output by 2022, according to a report by the Construction Industry Training Board. This will be an incredible bounce back after the pandemic, but will require an estimated additional 217,000 new workers according to the report.

If you focus on areas such as creating a good company culture and offering paths of progression and development for your employees, you will be in a better position to bring in the right candidates for your business. So, here are my top measures to put in place in order to attract the talent that will grow your team.

Showing what the industry can offer

Use your job adverts and any recruitment materials to show people that a job in construction provides variety and excitement, and that it is great for someone that thrives on activity, organisation, and teamwork. Communicating this to prospective employees is extremely important, especially as they might be unsure of what roles are available in this industry.

Many people might be unsure of what roles, pay, and progression are available in the construction industry. So, make sure your job adverts are drafted to convey the range of tasks available in any given day. If your budget allows, consider hiring a recruitment firm to draft your job adverts. If your business has a website, consider adding a careers page to give an idea of the sorts of roles you are offering.

You can also try outreach events, like doing seminars, presentations, and workshops at your business for those who are interested in construction roles. This raises the profile of your business among people who are considering the industry as a career, and it is also puts you in touch with plenty of potential recruits.

Create a thriving company culture

Having a positive company culture is very important when attracting new recruits. Showing people that they will be working in a supportive, cheerful environment encourages them to apply, and to stick around longer if they get the job. To create a positive culture, offer useful incentives like company discounts, giving workers an extra day off on their birthday, and local gym memberships.

It is also important to recognise employees’ achievements, and acknowledge when targets are met or exceeded. This ensures that everyone feels that their work garners attention, and people are motivated to go into every project wanting to achieve the best outcome.

Setting team targets can also encourage people to contribute to joint projects, and encourages more pooling of knowledge and collaborative work. You could also start a social media campaign about your company culture, including behind-the-scenes videos and interviews with staff. This will raise your profile, and give potential employees a way to look inside the workings of your brand.

Continued learning and development

Offering a path of learning, education, and career progression is a great way to encourage more people to apply to construction roles. It also attracts employees that are looking for more long-term employment, meaning you can avoid the hassle and cost of hiring regularly, as they will remain with the company potentially for years.

Offer a clear path of progression and promotion, and show employees exactly what they have to do in order to climb up the next rung of the ladder. Having this be transparent and clearly communicated at the interview stage of a job application gives people confidence in your business, and it shows them a job with you has lots of career potential.

Offering internships, apprenticeships, and work experience can help encourage new young talent to enter the industry as well, setting businesses up for future years. This can help avoid issues like aging workforces and ensure there’s always a steady stream of interest in construction roles.

Make it easy for recruits to apply

It can be tempting to only draft and put out one job advert online, and then wait for someone to email the business. However, if you try a few different job websites, you might find that the amount of applications you receive increases, along with the diversity of your talent pool. Likewise, try adding a specific extension to your phone system for job applicants who want to ask questions about a role or the business.

To make it easier for you and your staff to process applications, it’s best to use a standardised application form. If you advertise the role on multiple websites, direct them all to the same application form (e.g. with a link to your website) to make things quicker when you are reading through the applications.

Consider flexible working arrangements

The pandemic has encouraged many businesses to experiment with new homeworking setups, and lots of employees are now prioritising flexible working when looking at prospective job roles. Of course, for many working in the construction sector, homeworking is not possible. It has instead been extremely important to develop safety protocols, so that construction sites can continue to remain open and working.

However, due to the increased popularity of flexible working, you should consider offering it where possible. Review your office-based roles to see if any of them can be offered either fully or partially remotely, and consider any other ways in which your workforce can find more flexible ways of still achieving targets. For example, you can give site staff more options when it comes to start times, breaks, or working weekends.

It has been a challenging time for many industries, and the construction business is no different. However, by implementing some of these tips and tricks, you can start to create a positive work environment. This will help you attract talented new recruits and keep current employees with your business for long-term career development.

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