Construction Recruitment – Solving America’s Housing Shortage

If you work in the housing sector of the construction industry, you know that the sector is in somewhat of a crisis. Not only is there a serious shortage of housing, but also a dearth of construction workers are needed to fill the housing gap. Let’s take a closer look at both the landscape of the construction labor market and how to recruit construction project managers for breaking new ground to address the housing shortage.

Depending upon the source, the U.S. is currently experiencing a housing shortage of between 2.5 million and 4 million homes. Using different models Freddie Mac believes that between 2.5 million to 3.3 million additional housing units need to be constructed to make up for the shortage. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) puts the number at four million. In a report released earlier this year, the NAR goes on to say that based on the shortage and future needs, the U.S. needs to build 2.1 million homes annually for a decade to overcome the shortage.    

Who’s going to build them?

Meanwhile, construction companies have been struggling to find skilled workers. While this has been a challenge since the labor shortage caused by the 2008 recession, the problem seems to be greater than ever and destined to get worse. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s third-quarter “Construction Index,” 55% of contractors report a high level of difficulty finding skilled workers. Additionally, 93% of those reporting this concern expect that the problem will stay the same or worsen over the next six months.

While there has already been a near-constant 300,000 to 400,000 range of open construction positions every month in 2021, construction industry growth and worker attrition through retirements and career changes mean that 2.2 million new construction workers will need to be hired between 2022 and 2024. And that estimate may be low depending upon the roll-out of the recently passed and signed $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Millennials and the oncoming Generation Z will be needed 

Baby Boomers are retiring in droves and more than 40% of the current construction workforce—including those in management—is projected to retire by the year 2031, according to the National Center for Construction Education & Research. This means that construction companies and contractors will need to focus much more of their recruiting efforts on the Millennial and Gen Z generations to fill the expected surge of open positions.

The question for construction company management and contractors is “how to best attract the younger generations with recruitment strategies?”

What Millennials and Gen Z are seeking

While decent pay, benefits, and intersection with tech are attractive perks to draw the attention of prospective Millennial and Gen Z workers towards the construction field, researchers and studies have uncovered other themes that drive these generations’ career goals. Three primary themes include:

  • Employment that provides a sense of personal worth.
  • Employment with clear opportunities for advancement and the learning of new skills
  • Quality of life enhancement, with “flexibility” serving as a primary vehicle for delivering it.

The first theme is relatively easy to promote as construction allows workers to see and subsequently be proud of what they have helped build. The second theme can certainly be addressed but can prove problematic for those construction employers who really only want a drywaller or similar one-skill tradesman. For construction management positions, this shouldn’t be a significant problem. The third theme presents the biggest challenge, as construction—with project deadlines and on-site work needs—is not traditionally amenable to flexibility, whether with the workweek or otherwise. That said, there might be ways to offer such flexibility to management positions.  

Recruitment strategies to attract Millennials and Gen Z

While your construction industry recruitment efforts should certainly still target older, more experienced workers, such efforts will increasingly target members of the younger generations. As such, consider the following strategies to help you recruit construction industry workers and managers:

  • Adopt new technologies—GPS-guided machinery, digitized tools, 3D printers, drones, robots—to the extent possible, as the younger generations expect that their work will involve at least some interaction with tech.
  • Build your brand with a strong website that showcases your company’s strengths and commitment to its employees. Add videos to your career page—you do have a career page, right?—that shows the company culture, its outstanding working conditions, and how it’s helping make the world a better place.
  • If possible, find ways to create flexible scheduling or other flexible perks (one three-day weekend per month?).
  • Continue to utilize job boards and relevant industry publications for recruitment outreach but make sure that you are also taking full advantage of social media, which is taking an ever-increasing role in filling employment positions of all types. Start with LinkedIn, but consider word-of-mouth outreach on Facebook, as well.
  • Make sure you have a well-defined career path for construction management positions or otherwise provide on-the-job training and advancement opportunities.  

Or help solve the housing crisis by recruiting

Going forward, the competition for construction workers and managers is only going to get tougher. Thus, to boost your construction management recruitment efforts you should consider turning your search for talent over to a professional recruiting company, like Amtec. With proprietary tools, a large construction management network, and proven expertise, we can efficiently match top-notch talent for construction project management positions.

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