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September 15, 2021

War for talents in the construction industry? The shortage of skilled workers sends its regards.

War for talents in the construction industry? The shortage of skilled workers sends its regards.

The demand for qualified personnel in the construction industry is continuously at a high level and is increasing immeasurably. At the same time, the construction industry is also particularly hard hit by the shortage of qualified personnel. For the construction industry, this means that recruiting must be strategically aligned in order to convince potential new employees. Here you will find valuable tips on how to successfully master the search for employees in the construction industry despite the tense situation.

This is the current situation, the tough facts.
Too few young people are opting for training in the construction industry, as a recent statistic from the Federal Employment Agency shows. In building construction alone, 4,800 company trainee positions remained unfilled in August 2021 - not a good sign for the future. According to a business survey conducted by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) in early summer 2021, construction companies have major hiring plans, apprentices included.

In principle, this is a positive signal for the economy: The order books are full and additional personnel is urgently needed to fill the orders.
If it weren't for the Achilles heel of the construction sector on the labor market, there are not enough freely available skilled workers. For this reason, construction companies often find themselves unable to recruit new employees. And precisely because fewer and fewer people are attracted to the construction industry, trainee positions remain unfilled and there is a shortage of young talent. The problems this causes for the industry are obvious. No high potentials from their own ranks and the war of talent takes its course.

Biggest business risk for construction companies
So it's no wonder that, at 67%, more than two-thirds of all German companies in the construction industry rate the shortage of skilled workers as a serious risk to their business operations, with staff shortages threatening their very existence.
The figure proves the point: In the construction industry, the lack of manpower is rated as the biggest risk of all - far ahead of other risks such as domestic demand or concerns about rising energy and raw material prices.

In this respect, construction differs significantly from other sectors. Although these also have to contend with a shortage of skilled workers, their business operations are not directly threatened to a comparable extent. In this respect, construction occupies the absolute top position among the business sectors in Germany. According to the DIHK survey, only 43% of companies across all sectors identified a shortage of skilled workers as a relevant risk - a significant difference of 24 percentage points. All the more bitter for all those who so urgently need new talent for their own companies.

But how do you get the top talent now?
Newspaper ads, ads on online job exchanges and job portals, employment agencies, stickers on company cars: You should only resort to such recruiting measures if demand exceeds the supply of jobs. But this is not the case.
The exact opposite is true for job offers from construction companies. In the construction industry, the labor market has gradually changed from an employer's market to an employee's market in the new millennium. Job seekers can choose companies and demand almost anything. In the end, they will choose those that offer you the most and that show them the greatest appreciation....

That's why, as an entrepreneur in the construction industry, you can't wait for job seekers to come to you; you have to actively approach candidates, talk to them directly - and put everything you have at your disposal into the equation. Half-heartedly, you won't win a pot of gold, and you certainly won't win any new colleagues. To do this, you need a recruiting strategy that is specifically tailored to the specialists you are looking for. In any case, you should ask yourself what people expect from a company, an employer and a working environment.

Internal spring cleaning, are you up to date?
First of all, it is important to set up the human resources department in an optimal and contemporary way; both in terms of resources and strategic place in the company: Corporate success stands and falls with your HR.
Is this department still treated poorly in your company? You should definitely change that. Keyword employer branding.
Just as a PR department works on optimizing the corporate brand, your HR staff builds a strong employer brand through targeted campaigns in social media and professional networks such as Xing or LinkedIn.

Recruiting in construction: interaction between PR and HR
Ideally, PR-supported public presentation of the company and recruiting go hand in hand. A good image, innovative products and processes or a stable position in the market have a positive effect on customers and business partners - and also on potential employees. The external presentation of the company should be supplemented with information that is of interest to those motivated to change and those looking for work in the construction industry and that addresses your qualities as an employer.

Creative content on company channels in the social media and interesting press releases about innovations, projects or employee events: The combination of such measures creates a positive overall image that strengthens the corporate and employer brand in equal measure. This is eminently important, because: The greater the shortage of skilled workers, the more important an attractive employer brand is - in the construction industry, it is therefore indispensable.

The magic word is active sourcing
Active sourcing refers to a direct approach to recruiting. You don't wait for interested parties to respond to job advertisements or even send you a speculative application, but instead find suitable candidates yourself and approach them actively and directly. If you don't know how to do this, Engfer Consulting is there for you.

Active Sourcing and Social Media Recruiting
One method of employee recruitment that responds to how people prefer to interact these days is social media recruiting. Here, social media is instrumentalized directly for employee recruitment. Initially, job ads can also be launched on social platforms to flank corporate content - but active sourcing goes beyond such measures.

In the social media context, it means using data from users and their profiles to identify suitable candidates for the job. Of course, explicit career portals such as the aforementioned Xing and LinkedIn promise the greatest success here, but job-relevant information can also be found via more "private" platforms.

The advantage of social media platforms is that desired candidates can be contacted directly via the platform's own communication channels. The addressees are likely to find such a direct approach quite flattering - their competencies are valued in such a way that they are addressed.

Active sourcing and personnel consulting
Admittedly: A recruiting strategy that relies on active sourcing is time-consuming; both in terms of planning and implementation. The reach of social media campaigns also depends on the network of the searching institution. If the company's own HR department reaches its quantitative and / or qualitative limits here, cooperation with an HR consultancy such as Engfer Consulting can be helpful, especially in a labor market as competitive as the construction industry.

Active sourcing with headhunters
As far as absolute top executives are concerned, e.g. in the field of construction engineering, the use of experienced headhunters should at least be an option. They carry out an executive search for a specific target person and can thus considerably increase your chances of success in filling the position. Here, too, we will be happy to assist you.

The basis for future success: employee retention
Just as you use your recruiting measures to attract employees who may already be employed elsewhere, your competitors do the same. In the construction industry, the high number of open positions leads to competition in which you can lose your top performers to other companies.

The obvious basic rule for maintaining your own staff in this battle for the best is: only dissatisfied employees have a reason to change employers. Although the salary level is still a serious argument for company loyalty, it is no longer the sole deciding factor, as may have been the case in the past. Factors such as working atmosphere, meaningfulness of work or personnel management are becoming increasingly important.

In the construction industry, there is sometimes still room for improvement in terms of work organization, such as flexible working hours or home office options for management personnel. Further training opportunities, company leisure activities or subsidies for sports activities also have a positive effect on the working atmosphere and employee satisfaction.

Let's not deceive ourselves: If there are more vacancies than suitable candidates, some positions are bound to remain unoccupied. Modern recruiting strategies significantly improve the chances of success in finding employees in the construction industry. Therefore, you should definitely use them to be attractive for skilled workers and to support your own market position.