Even as inflation and the labor shortage has driven salaries throughout construction up, it remains difficult for builders to hire employees. Wages alone are proving insufficient to attract and retain workers. Here are the strategies some contractors are putting in place to move forward.
More Pay, More Benefits and Bigger Commitments
Construction Dive reports that on average, hourly pay for workers rose by 6.1% between the end of 2021 and 2022, with 72% of contractors increasing base pay and “about a third” raising bonuses and benefits. Nonetheless it has remained challenging to hire and retain workers. As recruiter Alison Tripp sums up: “Employees are expecting a competitive and well-rounded employee value proposition that supports them at every stage of their career.” In response, builders are recognizing they are “unable to compete on salary alone” and are “proactively working to make construction more attractive and competitive with other industries.” One approach to doing so is offering better benefit programs that help “employees prioritize health and wellbeing and provides resources to plan for the future.” Greg Sizemore, a vice president at ABC observes “Firms are also focusing on workers’ mental health, work-life balance and opportunities to engage in meaningful work….”
Indusrtry experts point out that for many workers, a commitment to ongoing employment is also increasingly important:
Contractors may need to promise full-time employment rather than contract work and offer higher per-diems for workers who travel to jobsites, said Portland, Oregon-based Eric Grasberger, construction and design group chair for national law firm Stoel Rives. They also need to consider schedule and contract revisions with owners.
Owners’ single focus on completing projects on time gives contractors leverage in asking for incentives to pay for rising labor costs, Grasberger said. Contractors are increasingly asking for contingency funds they can tap or price-adjustment clauses to cover higher labor costs.
Of course to retain talented workers once hired, builders need to make sure they are winning more work. That’s why contractors across the country are leveraging The Partnership Account® to grow their businesses. Once qualified, The Partnership Account® gives builders a surety line of credit—in writing—and a private digital dashboard, providing daily snapshots of single and aggregate limits and bond capacity. Go ahead: update work on hand, increase the aggregate and hit the green light on your next build. Pre-Qualify and Get Free Scores Here.
GB Financial Services has observed that some builders are experiencing success with these hiring tactics:
- Offering finder fees to employees as well as using outside sources to find help. Pay a decent fee—50% upfront once a hire takes place and the remaining 50% at the close of your 2022 season….
- Offering a “Gold” health plan with minimum employee contribution required. Unbelievably, employees will stay to keep that coverage….
- Instituting a “Pay on Demand” program…where employees can generate a paycheck for time earned, typically requesting 50-100% of their workday’s hourly wages after clocking out. Ask your payroll service about this program.
Pros also encourage contractors to build effective relationships with new candidate pools, by meaningfully connecting with local schools and training programs. Just don’t expect that the old tactic of sending a flier over will be effective. Instead, take the time to get to know the administrators, instructors and students. Many programs rely on local building experts to share insights about the industry, give students access to tools and materials and even advise the instructors. Inquire about the possibility of serving on an advisory board, which is encouraged by industry experts as a great way to build your employment pipeline.
There are complex layers of challenges involved in building the work force needed for the go forward. With ever more to figure out and do, don’t forget The Partnership Account® is here to help you save time and gain more control of financial operations. In addition to a surety line of credit—in writing, The Partnership Account® gives qualified construction companies:
- Control of bidding and bonding, online and in real time.
- Powers of attorney to seal and issue their own bid bonds—in minutes.
- Fast, direct, confidential bid bonds—no middleman.
- Direct access to performance and payment bonds on a customized dashboard.
- Real time tracking of bids and work on hand.
- Immediate access to Colonial’s lead underwriter as new opportunities emerge.
- A private Owner’s Dashboard to view surety lines, adjust work and analyze bids.
Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed.