Recent figures generated by the Construction Labor Market Analyzer, a web-based tool for collecting and Missing
aggregating construction labor data, construction labor data, estimates that by 2016 U.S. construction projects will require about 50% more than the current 6.7 million total workers available today.

For contractors, such a drastic shortfall of skilled laborers could boost wages and disrupt or delay projects. But there are a variety of ways to prepare now to attract and retain tomorrow’s best construction workers.

Benchmarking

Adopting industry-standard job descriptions, titles, and corresponding salary ranges can help applicants compare opportunities and help you retain them once they are on the payroll.

For example, a growing HVAC shop needs to hire three mid-level installers, each with between two and four years of experience. Previously the business typically paid its installers and other employees according to two general criteria (as well as a variety of subjective factors such as job performance), which are:

1) zero to three years of experience, and

2) three or more years of experience.

The danger with this approach is that there’s no benchmark for what employees are being paid for performing specific functions or series of tasks as detailed in their job descriptions. Over time, this ad hoc approach can lead to vast differences in pay for similarly titled workers, which can contribute to low morale, high turnover, and even potential legal issues.

Benchmarking can ensure that wages and employee benefits (such as health insurance) are handled consistently and on par with competitors. The latter will help discourage good employees from leaving to find greener pastures.

There are a variety of ways to benchmark employees’ pay. One method is to hire an outside consulting firm to perform a benchmarking study. If that seems financially out of reach, then local industry associations may be able to help and several online references are available, including the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Be a Destination

With the construction industry appearing poised for a comeback, don’t get caught asking, “Where’s my crew?” Start thinking today about how your construction company can be the go-to destination for tomorrow’s top building talent.