Construction Employment Trends Revealed in Survey

Oct 9, 2017Business Consulting, Construction & Real Estate

The right people, in the right position can make the difference between a high growth and stagnant company. Finding and retaining the best and brightest is essential to the vitality of every company. Whether it is in the boardroom or on the production floor, there is always a need for top class talent. Not only does this ensure a quality service or product to meet market demands, but it also creates a foundation for innovation, process improvement and growth. Conversely, a shortage of employees may make it quite challenging for companies to thrive.

Unfortunately, this is currently the case in the construction industry as uncovered by a study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America: 2017 Minnesota Workforce Survey. The survey reveals interesting trends in staffing challenges, compensation changes, recruiting approach and how companies are filling the gap. To make clients, prospects and others aware of the trends, Smith Schafer has provided a summary below.

 Key Workforce Survey Findings

  • Staffing Challenges – Construction companies are struggling to fill both salaried and hourly positions more now than before. According to the survey, for those having trouble filling salaried positions, 46% of respondents are struggling to hire project managers/supervisors, followed by engineers (43%), estimating personnel (36%) and business development/sales personnel (15%). For respondents who are having trouble finding hourly positions, carpenters are hardest to come by (63%), followed by, heavy equipment operators (57%), concrete workers (46%) and laborers (44%). 
  • Compensation Changes – To attract and retain qualified employees, companies have changed or enhanced their compensation packages. According to the survey, for hourly employees, 40% of respondents have increased base pay rates, 35% offered bonuses or additional incentive pay and 18% have increased the company’s portion of benefit contributions or improved employee benefits. For salaried positions, 47% of respondents have increased pay rates, 39% offered bonuses or additional incentive pay and 32% have enhanced the employee benefit package.
  • Recruiting Approach – Given the labor shortage, construction companies are using different recruiting strategies to find new talent. According to the survey, 86% of respondents are recruiting via outreach to community and industry groups, 69% are outreaching to local colleges, universities and technical colleges, 69% are using targeted job fairs and 33% are implementing internship programs. Companies are also making special efforts to target various groups, including a focus on women (97%), veterans (88%), African Americans (82%) and Native Americans (67%). 
  • Filling the Gap – To manage through the shortage, companies are turning to alternative methods to eliminate the impact or obtain the needed talent. According to the survey, 55% of respondents are expanding in-house training programs, 43% are using more interns, 43% are using labor-saving equipment (e.g., drones, robots) and 38% are engaging with career building programs at high schools and technical colleges. Other activities include turning to recruiters and staffing companies, implementing virtual construction methods (e.g., BIM) and offsite pre-fabrication.

 Contact Us

It is clear from the survey that finding and retaining talent is becoming an issue for many Minnesota construction companies and contractors. To stay ahead of the curve, it is essential to review and refine recruiting and human resources policies to ensure an optimal arrangement for employees. If you have questions about the survey or need assistance with a tax, audit or compliance issue, Smith Schafer can help. For additional information, click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon. 


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