It’s Hard to Find Good Help These Days

It’s Hard to Find Good Help These Days

With more workers turning to the trades as a way to make an honest living, it shouldn’t be so hard to find good help. And yet it’s a problem many contractors face; finding reliable, productive workers to fill crews is getting harder and harder. The best workers in the field have their pick of jobs, while others are left to whoever is still looking. It’s a phenomenon that, on the surface, makes no sense – yet, it’s a real problem.

Consumer Confidence Plays a Part

When consumer confidence levels are up, people spend more money. And that includes money spent on improving their homes – they feel secure in their jobs and future and feel comfortable hiring you and your crew to make improvements and additions or even build new homes to spec. When consumer confidence is high, skilled contractors and skilled laborers are the first to reap the benefits – leaving a pool of less than ideal candidates available to choose from when you need to fill your crew.

When consumer confidence is low and people aren’t spending, there’s no work and thus, no need to fill a crew even though you have your pick of workers. What initially seems like a conundrum is actually a version of supply and demand for the service sector.

Automation is a Growing Threat

Automation of unskilled labor is a growing threat to the construction sector. As tasks become automated, fewer people seek to take up those jobs. And training for those who can run the automated services still lags behind – meaning it’s tough to find a qualified person who can run the machines that are replacing people in certain jobs. While automation of tasks isn’t as big a factor in the difficulty finding workers, it’s a growing problem and the industry needs to put more focus on training those qualified to run the machines that are now being used in certain tasks (think machining and design sectors).

Outsourcing of Jobs

Outsourcing jobs overseas is another small reason it’s harder to find more workers – again, supply and demand plays a role. Without the demand for certain jobs, those tasks are being outsourced to workers outside your region or even outside the country. Even less of a threat to the construction industry than consumer confidence OR automation, outsourcing still contributes to the lack of reliable, local workers – especially if you’re working on a project headed by a company that has no qualms about sourcing remotely.

Failure to Diversify

On the opposite hand, sometimes the inability to find skilled workers is because of a failure to diversify. Contracting is still seen by many as a “manly man’s” field. Hiring women, minorities, those with disabilities or other workers who don’t normally get a second look when the field is full of those that fit the stereotypical mold is a great way to fill your crew provided you have adequate tasks to meet the skill level of those available. By diversifying your crew and hiring those capable of doing the job – even if they don’t fit the image you had in your head – you’ll be able to pull from a greater pool of labor and get the job done. Failure to diversify limits your options and may mean you miss out on the best worker you’ve never had – all because of stubbornness or unwillingness to break the mold.

It’s Hard to Find Good Help

Finding good help is a matter of knowing what the larger market is doing – from consumer confidence levels to automation trends to outsourcing trends and diversifying the pool of labor you pull from. Even when consumer confidence is high and everyone’s easily finding work, you can still pull together a decent crew if you know what you’re looking for and are willing to take some chances.