How Construction Recruiting Strategies are Changing Amid an Evolving Industry
April 18, 2016By Rebecca Brown
The construction industry is experiencing a fundamental shift as a looming labor shortage is creating fierce competition for workers. In addition, technology is transforming the way projects are designed and delivered, and diversity is becoming an increasingly important focus for the industry, expanding beyond race and gender to include diversity of thought, background, and experience. As a result of these changing industry trends, construction companies are rethinking their strategies to attract, recruit, and retain new workers.
In today’s environment, technology is becoming essential to construction projects, with virtual design and construction (VDC) helping maximize the efficiency, safety, and quality of project delivery. Additionally, new applications of building information modeling are giving rise to the use of new tools in construction, such as laser scanning, virtual/augmented reality, and 4D scheduling. As we experience a greater need for personnel to meet the growing demand for VDC, we must seek out nontraditional candidates from new sources that satisfy the skillsets necessary for a model-based approach to construction. Recruiting these tech-savvy individuals can be challenging, given the industry’s reputation for being old-fashioned and slow to adapt to change.
We’re aiming to break through this stereotype and attract a technology-driven generation of diverse workers. We must face that today’s graduates seek technology and purpose in their career decisions. Recognizing this trend is key to our recruiting efforts, we are reaching out to schools throughout the country that offer more specialized technology programs and seeking to connect with students in various paths of study, including aviation, robotics, engineering, computer science, and architecture, who have an interest in construction. We’re also putting a greater focus on having our co-ops and interns participate in specialized departments within the company, including VDC and scheduling.
In addition, our team members are hosting technology demonstrations for student groups. For instance, Regional Director of VDC Russ Gibbs and VDC Coordinators Hunter Cole and Jesse Creech recently presented to a class at Auburn University, bringing to the class an unmanned aerial vehicle and Oculus Rift goggles. This up-close and personal approach gives students a look into the leading-edge innovations we’re incorporating into our construction practices.
While focused on attracting this group of skilled technology professionals to our industry, we’re also adapting our strategies to recruit and retain skilled labor for traditional field and project management roles. With a labor shortage created by the impacts of the recession, an aging workforce, and fewer entrants into the industry, there is an increasing need to more vigorously attract, recruit, and train new members of the workforce.
With this in mind, we’re expanding our outreach to include additional colleges and universities that expose us to more diverse talent. We are partnering with organizations such as the ACE Mentor Program to introduce high school students to careers in the architecture, construction, and engineering fields and partnering with local high schools to engage students enrolled in trade programs. For example, as part of our ongoing partnerships with the Huffman High School Construction Academy in Birmingham, Alabama, and Dickson County Schools in Tennessee, we’re exposing students to construction careers by hosting jobsite tours, trade demonstrations, and more. We’re also partnering with various trade training organizations, such as the Construction Education Foundation of Alabama and the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia to help recruit and train new members of the workforce.
Additionally, we’re focusing more efforts on recruiting and retaining women, who have historically been underrepresented in our industry. Last month, we joined with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to celebrate Women in Construction Week, an observance established by NAWIC to highlight the growing role of women in the industry and the opportunities available for women in construction. Through our co-op and internship programs, we are providing hands-on learning and creating a channel for prospective candidates to join our company. Our Operational Women’s Resource Group provides a platform for sharing goals and exploring solutions to the challenges women encounter in the construction industry.
Ultimately, as we seek to recruit and retain top talent amid a changing industry landscape, our culture and values will remain the foundation of our ability to maintain a strong workforce.
If you are interested in learning more about career opportunities with Brasfield & Gorrie, visit www.brasfieldgorrie.com/careers.