Facing Serious Labor Shortages, Construction Needs a New Approach

The construction industry is at a critical juncture. Just as construction spending is forecast to accelerate, construction companies are faced with numerous challenges that will impact their ability to hire, including a growing skills gap, an aging workforce, and an increasing turnover rate.  

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from November 2023, as reported by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the number of unfilled industry job openings has increased YOY by nearly 32%, signifying a growth in construction spending that is exceeding the supply of workers required.  

Even more concerning is the increase in the number of workers quitting their jobs at a YOY increased rate of 28%, so that churn is now responsible for up to 38% of total open positions.  

Fully Integrating the Worker to Improve Hiring & Retention

These recruitment and retention challenges can be addressed with technology, but not with the typical desktop recruiting dashboards alone – those dashboards sit on the superintendent’s device, only providing a top-down view.  The missing piece of technology is an app on the worker’s phone that, for example, makes it easier and faster to apply to the job openings for which they fit best. 

At Tenstreet Construction, our technology goes the extra distance to support the key role that construction workers play in accelerating hiring and improving retention. We offer a dashboard-plus-mobile-app network platform that facilitates true 2-way engagement between project management and the construction crew.  

Our approach is guided by the learnings from our parent company’s successful experience in creating the largest interactive network of drivers and carriers in the trucking industry. What is the similarity between trucking and building when it comes to hiring and retention? Both industries are characterized by a fluid workforce that demands both constant recruiting and effective training and compliance management post-hire to retain a capable crew.  

From Recruiting to Onboarding, and Beyond

How else can this technology help? For one example, we know that recruiters in the construction industry have often called out the importance of employee referrals as a key contributor to hiring. What if construction workers could easily use an app on their phones to signal a colleague to an opening at a company they know to be a good employer? What if the project manager then had the ability to reward that employee for that referral? This same app could also be used by the project superintendent to send and receive compliance documentation and signed forms electronically to help onboard the new worker, saving the need for multiple trips to the site.  

In an industry traditionally reliant on manual labor and established methods, our digital networking platform is offering a new path forward. Our technology is revolutionizing the recruitment process, making it more efficient, engaging, and accessible to a younger, tech-savvy workforce. From streamlining application processes to enhancing communication with candidates, to maintaining easy communication post-hire, these tools are simplifying the once-daunting task of attracting and retaining skilled workers in construction.  

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