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18.10.21

How to attract top construction talent post-pandemic
Despite supply chain interruptions and project suspensions, the construction industry has been fortunate enough to weather the worst of the immediate pain felt by a large majority of sectors throughout the pandemic. But as the economy begins its road to recovery, Australia’s construction industry leaders are facing their toughest challenge yet; accessing skilled workers.
Right now, every organisation is competing for talent in what is shaping up to be the toughest labour market in decades.  Employers are struggling to attract enough quality candidates, with skills gaps and a lack of applications threatening to hold back Australia’s post-pandemic recovery.
woman in construction
Job roles are soaring compared to the same time last year. In April 2021, the number of advertised roles was up 52.5% compared to pre-pandemic levels (Jan 2020). But job applications however have not increased in line with this change. The total number of job applications submitted in April 2021 was still down 12.5% from pre-COVID levels.* This shortage of applicants is hampering business recovery.

Why the decline in job applications

  • Salary is a strong motivator for pursuing and accepting a new role – and wage growth has stagnated over the past year
  • Border closures have led to a decrease in skilled migrants who would usually fill these open positions
  • Workers are either hesitant to start a new role due to job security, or are considering career changes for a post-COVID world
  • High employee turnover. There is a post-pandemic resignation boom coming. Employers are scrambling to maintain their culture and employees

 

So when you need highly skilled engineers, project managers, site managers or contract administrators, how do you attract this talent?

Now more than ever, the race for top talent requires a deep understanding of what candidates are seeking in their next position, and what you as an organisation have to offer. Here’s how hiring managers can find a competitive advantage and build sustainable talent pipelines.

 

Expand recruitment tactics and meet potential employees where their job search exists.

With an ageing population and uncertainty around job security, many job seekers may not even consider construction as an industry of choice. But as we’ve seen over the last few months, career and industry change is an ongoing trend, so acknowledging transferrable skills and being open to job seekers comparing industries will expand your talent pool. This market segment will be keen to learn about income opportunities in the industry, as well as benefits and advancement opportunities.

 

Improve conditions for current employees.

Flexible working conditions look very different to how they did in 2019. Companies offering a hybrid or fully remote work environment where possible have a competitive advantage in retaining and attracting talent. Other benefits to support employees during the pandemic, such as access to mental health resources and childcare coverage, can also serve as attractive perks.

Ensuring your company is invested in safety, communication, education, and diversity will help you attract the right workers looking to commit to a business for the long haul, and help foster a good reputation. Creating a culture that not only attracts employees through strong recruitment efforts but also fosters a culture to retain employees, in turn, creates a good reputation in the community where you can promote yourself as an employer of choice.

Employees that value this culture and are happy at work also become great advocates for your organisation and vital to your value proposition.

 

Partner with industry experts.

Recruitment has always been a time-intensive operation for teams. The change however is that it’s no longer the number of applications (and duplicates) a hiring manager needs to process that presents the problem; it’s the sourcing. Now more than ever, collaboration with your recruiter is essential to gaining a competitive edge in the market. Fostering a strong relationship with your recruitment partner ensures you’re not only accessing quality candidates currently in the market with ease, but strategically investing in your pipeline with someone who knows your business, your forecast of hiring requirements, previous hiring history and candidate insights.

 

The construction industry has already shown how agile and adaptive it can be from a production perspective. Now is the time to use this same agility to invest in the people who will drive it’s recovery and make it great again. By partnering with the right recruiter to reach quality candidates beyond the jobs board and investing in policy improvements and employer branding, Australia’s construction industry will once again be a leading industry of choice for new generations of talent.

 

*Source: SEEK Market Insights