8 Ways Subcontractors Can Manage Construction Labor Shortages

Construction labor shortages are making it difficult for subcontractors to find workers—especially those who are well-trained and in-demand. According to the Home Builder Institute Construction Labor Market Report, the construction industry needs over 2 million more workers over the next three years to keep up with the booming demand for new houses amid construction labor shortages.

Subcontractors need to be proactive to mitigate the risks associated with construction labor shortages. Here are some tips:

1. Strategize and plan ahead

One of the biggest causes for a shrinking labor pool is excessive competition. Therefore, consider what you can do differently or improve to stand out to attract and build the best staff possible. When competing with more established companies, it might be worth the research into their go-to tactics to up your game.

2. Get help with your hiring process

We all know that hiring is time-consuming and can be a challenge. For a smoother hiring process, consider:

  • Hiring an employment agency to do all the heavy lifting to recruit new staff. This allows for more time to ensure you’re developing your existing staff while potential candidates are appropriately being screened and your hiring process runs smoother.

  • Make it known that you are hiring. Try listing open positions on well-known job boards or social media business platforms, like LinkedIn.

  • Embrace word-of-mouth: let your staff know you’re hiring, and offer financial incentives for employees who bring in successful candidates.

Construction Labor Shortages

3. Offer competitive wages and benefits

Benefits packages are one of the most important aspects employees consider when choosing a company to work for, and also determine whether workers will stay. By providing good health insurance, paid time off, competitive wages, and financial assistance to further education, people will be more inclined to take notice of what embodies your business culture. Make sure these benefits stand out.

In certain areas, there are construction labor shortages in qualified skilled tradesmen due to the high demand for workers. In addition to offering higher benefits, offer more incentives such as flexible hours to get people through the door.

4. Make sure your subcontractors are “up to speed”

Some trade schools now offer classes in construction technologies. These programs can help new workers tap into various jobs on larger projects by providing training (e.g., software design, power tools, and automated equipment).
While these courses often require a high level of commitment, the skills learned can improve productivity while boosting their career and job satisfaction. It also means you have a highly specialized workforce.
.Speaking of schools—consider reaching out to the next generation of subcontractors by attending career fairs or contacting schools to offer presentations to their students.

5. Partner with other businesses

Business environments are becoming more and more competitive. This means that collaborating with other businesses may be a good strategy, and sometimes necessary. Subcontractors can come together and sign contracts with businesses, for example, if one contractor needs more workers and another has space in their schedule—helping both parties out. Also, consider offering good compensation to borrow workers with specific skills from other companies.

6. Be the best place to work

There are ways to create an appealing work environment:

  • Establish sick leave and vacation benefits.
  • Provide discounts or complimentary services for employees and their families (e.g., restaurant vouchers, gas cards).
  • Make your construction site an enjoyable place to work. Try organizing company events that foster collaboration, boost morale, and build relationships.
  • Offer flexible schedules. People are more motivated and can be more productive if they have a say in a weekly routine in which schedule and project timelines often change.

Labor Shortages

7. Embrace construction technology

As the construction industry becomes more tech-focused, companies are constantly developing new ways to improve processes and make life easier for their project teams.

There are many different types of tech tools available that improve your work management processes. These tools can help you keep track of employees’ time off requests, shift trades, availability changes, and much more. These systems can also integrate with payroll software so you know employees’ hours worked per pay period, overtime requirements, etc.

8. Embrace AI

Artificial Intelligence is the future of the construction industry. AI can be used to increase productivity and reduce costs, and help transform how you manage your projects.

  • Improve safety: Monitor many aspects of a construction project using AI systems equipped with sensors, including safety. This means the software can analyze the risks and warn against potential dangers and hazards.
  • Reduce waste and rework, and prevent cost overruns: AI helps subcontractors intelligently predict supply and demand, as well as provide more accurate estimates.
  • Maintain schedules: AI and automation do the heavy lifting when it comes to managing tasks, scheduling, and deadlines.
  • Stay within budget and prevent cost overruns.

Moreover, consider how AI can facilitate better communication between tradesmen onsite, allowing teams to easily share information about materials and tasks that need completing on schedule.

How eSUB can help

eSUB’s construction management platform helps subcontractors maintain and manage a fully functional team between field and HQ, improving collaboration, productivity, and saving costs.

eSUB’s cloud-based project management solution was designed specifically for construction subcontractors, giving them a real-time view and account of their workers, enabling efficient work management within an easy-to-use platform.

If you would like to improve your management processes so you don’t experience construction labor shortages, schedule a demo to learn how eSUB can help.

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