As an employer in the construction industry, one of your top priorities is finding and hiring top talent for your team. But in today’s world, that task is easier said than done. The Ohio construction industry, along with the industry nationwide, is in the midst of a labor shortage. Opportunities abound, but people to fill the roles are greatly lacking. And, it’s taking a toll on our industry. In fact, according to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America, 44% of companies have seen higher project costs. Not only are projects costing more, 40% report that projects are taking longer to complete, too.
The current state of the industry is anything but sustainable. Any business owner knows that a strong team is critical to any construction company’s success and individual employees’ wellbeing. The stat that has we at I Build America – Ohio most concerned about is the 57% who cite the shortage as the biggest challenge to worker health and safety.
The younger generation will be critical in creating the construction industry of the future. But how can we attract students to the industry? Construction Executive shared five strategies to connect with students. Today, we break down their five tips and expand on how we at I Build America – Ohio recommend you can incorporate them into your business.
- Integrate technology
Today’s students have grown up with technology. Born well after the invention of the internet, personal computers, and even cell phones, technology is simply a part of who they are and what they dream of doing in their careers long-term. To attract students, show how you’re utilizing technology to get the job done. While our industry might be relatively slow in regards to adopting new technologies, we have come a long way. Make sure you’re using the most advanced project management software, BIM, and job site technology to attract the tech-minded generations. And, let it be known that technological creativity is encouraged at your company.
- Get into classrooms
To get students to where you need them, you need to meet them where they are now. It’s time to get out of the office and into the classroom. People of any age, but especially children and teens, love working with their hands. There’s a certain sense of accomplishment that comes with seeing the fruits of their labor right away. Help them realize that sense of accomplishment by bringing the best part of your business to their classroom. Create a team of your top employees to work with students, bringing intriguing projects that will foster their interest in design and engineering. If an ongoing mentorship isn’t realistic, set up one day per school year to present to students, highlighting the best parts about working in construction.
- Offer collegiate partnership programs
To tap into older students, collaborate with your local community colleges and universities. To truly add value to their educational experience, recruit students to participate in a program that both educates and provides real-world experience working for you. While you’re training your ideal candidates, students will enjoy the opportunity to earn as they learn and educators will appreciate the enrichment in education you can provide to accompany standard coursework.
- Donate to career programs
If establishing a program is unrealistic, consider supporting students financially. Today’s higher education is incredibly expensive, often with a high debt-to-income ratio. Showing your support to student success today will give you the opportunity to share the benefits of working in construction, one being highly competitive pay.
- Network with teachers
Educators can be your biggest champions. They are able to identify students that have a natural knack for design and engineering and can guide them to a career choice fit for their skills. Most teachers, however, don’t know much about the construction industry. Take the time to connect with teachers of every grade level, coordinating field trips, class presentations, or activities that will spark construction industry interest and expand educators’ awareness.
As business owners, it’s time to dedicate your time and energy to bring in the next generation of skilled workers. The efforts we make today will impact the industry for years to come. For additional resources, click here.