Could Modern Retention and Recruitment Policies in Construction Alleviate the Labor Shortage?

This article is part of a blog series on the labor shortage in the construction industry in 2024, exploring some remedies to this crisis.

The shortage of workers and the resulting skills gap are challenging construction companies to increase their agility and innovation in hiring, retaining, and training workers.

The solutions we explore below are based on constantly re-assessing your ability to lead a transparent culture in which you can retain your current staff and attract newcomers.

If your organization is transparent, you are more successful in the following areas:

  • shared common culture and values
  • improved communication and collaboration
  • engaged, happy, efficient employees.

However, a lack of transparency creates issues in your organization. Such as:

  • employees working in isolation
  • lack of trust in the management
  • many circulating rumors leading to uncertainty and frustration.

How to recruit the right people?

Employee recruitment presents challenges in every industry, but following the pandemic, the poor perception of working the construction industry require that you find new ways to motivate current employees and attract new employees.

The challenges

Long-term workers have been the backbone of the industry, but they are retiring, and younger workers aren’t stepping in to fill the available positions.

The skills gap and safety hazards make training a crucial part of recruiting and retaining the right people.

Losing trained employees is expensive so it is essential to:

  • find ways to attract and retain young employees
  • demonstrate the long-term benefits of a growing career in your company
  • implement a continuous learning philosophy.

Blue-collar jobs are not popular because schools, professionals, and parents push pupils toward higher education rather than apprenticeships. Construction jobs pay well and provide employees with training on the job, but it is not advertised enough to young potential recruits.

The construction sector does not encourage new recruiting techniques. This means lost opportunities to attract new employees to the industry.

Tips to recruit in the construction industry

In the current economic environment, interesting opportunities for construction companies to attract workers seeking a different industry are materializing. To compete with other industries, companies in construction will need to use new techniques for recruiting new employees.

A different approach to recruitment is to meet potential employees where their job searches are. Maximizing the use of tools on platforms like LinkedIn, is essential for your company to gain visibility and attract the right prospective employees. It will demonstrate to potential employees your ability to use technology for communication and collaboration in the field.

Skilled employees who have remained with you during difficult times are living examples of what the work experience is like within your firm, make sure that they feel appreciated. Encourage them to be connected on social media, as happy employees serve as brand ambassadors to job seekers around them.

Invest money to review and improve your processes to attract and retain long-term great employees.

Review your compensation scheme to attract new employees without affecting your loyal employees who have been sharing the load for years.

Bonus schemes and long-term incentives should be designed to encourage achievements and make all employees feel welcome and appreciated.

Make sure that your training policies are well advertised to potential and existing employees. Communicate that employees will be rewarded for their education efforts and hard work. By doing so your people will not be tempted to look somewhere else. It could also deter them from jumping to another job if they are hunted by your competitors.

Regularly have one-on-one meetings with your staff to make sure that their goals are in line with the company’s strategy. They will then feel comfortable advertising the firm to their friends and introducing potential recruits.

Constantly monitor the advancement in technology and improve your processes to attract younger employees seeking long-term placement and advancing careers.

Learn how to on-board more efficiently without meeting face-to-face by providing new recruits with:

  • digital documents
  • electronic signatures.

Manage your talents and recruitment proactively and strategically

Boost your profit by maintaining high and positive morale, reduce your staff turnover, and contribute to your efficiency and productivity. To be able to increase your margins you should proactively:

  • review and improve your selection processes
  • map out the types of workers and skills needed to fill vacancies
  • be more focused and successful in your job screenings
  • establish training and development programs to attract and retain talents
  • hire the right skills and personalities to create a culture where your employees feel comfortable and happy.

How to retain people?

Employee turnover rate in the construction industry hovers around 21.4% worldwide. Unfortunately, employee turnover for the 24 or younger age bracket can get as high as 64%.

Employee turnover refers to the proportion of employees who leave an organization over a set period (often on a year-on-year basis), expressed as a percentage of total workforce numbers. Turnover rates in construction are generally higher than in other industries. There are various explanations as to why this is:

  • the physicality of the work
  • low salary growth
  • project-based work.

Turnover is not always a bad thing. If a poor performer is leaving the company, it could be considered a benefit, since the cost of replacing him or her would be lower than if she or he was staying.

Your employee retention policies should be designed to retain talents and encourage poor performers to leave. The reasons for staying or leaving organizations deal with emotions and human issues, so designing the right retention policies cannot be done scientifically. Each organization needs to decide what its acceptable voluntary turnover targets are and what categories of people it needs to retain to optimize its efficiency and profitability.

Replacing employees is costly

The cost of turnover varies largely according to the performance level of the individual doing the job. You should expect the recruiting fees to be:

  • 16% of annual base pay for a low-hourly paid employee
  • 20% of a mid-level employee’s annual salary
  • executives, with specialized skills and education, costs may go up to 213% of their annual salary.

For construction companies, losing a highly skilled worker or a top engineer in the middle of a project can be devastating. It can derail months of work and cause interminable headaches.

The current economic situation created a situation where the construction industry has many available positions and a limited labor pool to fill those positions. Firms must think innovatively to prevent their valuable personnel from finding greener pastures in a different company.

5 Tips to improve retention:

To retain people you will need to provide the following:


To be effective, benefits should be presented to and approved by your people. In a situation where employees can easily switch companies, it is important to make your employees dependable and loyal to you. To make sure that you can differentiate yourself from other employers you should offer your employees benefits that make positive contributions to their personal lives, on top of decent salaries. If you care about your employees, they will hesitate to look somewhere else. They are working for you, not because they like the job, but because they need to provide for their families. If you help them achieve that, you will engender trust.

Everyone offers basic benefits! Offer more and your employees will remain dutiful to you.

Applications and software

Your applications and software should be relevant. Automating your processes will make your employees feel that their workday is struggle-free, a great way to retain them.

People are leaving their jobs because they are frustrated. If you make available the right applications and management software to your team, irritation will be alleviated.

Management applications and software are collaborative tools:

  • they can help intensify productivity and efficiency
  • projects get completed quicker with fewer and happier people
  • during the design phase, using a tool such as Plannerly will make it easier for employees to share plans, scopes, contracts, tasks, and schedules, and verify requirements
  • during the construction phase, using a tool such as Procore will help your staff be able to discuss and share models and schedules, review blueprints, budgets, profiles of subcontractors, send images and documents, and communicate with each other.


Training opportunities help you to keep your employees for the long term, your place of work must provide them with career plans and development opportunities. In other words, not only offering them a job but also a career.

To achieve that, you will have to create a system of progression through continuous learning and encourage your employees to make the most of it.

To increase productivity while also retaining employees, you should:

  • provide them with training and learning opportunities
  • automate and systemize your processes so that your employees will have to use new technologies as an opportunity for them to pick up new skills.

They will feel that they are taking part in the modernization of your procedures which will substantially uplift their morale.

Make sure that they understand that your company is providing them with a future by learning, so they will not be tempted to see if the grass is greener at another employer. Having them stay and grow helps them to keep their knowledge, their experience, and their loyalty. It also helps you to satisfy your customers and make more money.


Technology is evolving rapidly at aggressive rates.

The signs of progress made thanks to Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Augmented Reality to name a few, have simplified and made boring tasks interesting, boosting the morale of the troops.

For example: Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) may transform the ways people work, learn, and connect with their environment and improve the visualization of your projects.


In the construction industry, there is more physical labor and more possibility for injuries than in other industries. Accidental injuries can happen if you are working in an office but there is no comparison to falling off a roof, getting run over by a concrete truck, or getting electrocuted.

Providing your employees with better-than-average healthcare benefits can make a huge difference to your staff's loyalty. But to ensure the safety of your workforce you should develop and enforce a strong employee safety program. The program's adherence to Health and Safety rules will reduce your risk and liability, it will also establish, that you have your staff's welfare at heart.

Everyone in the industry understands that Health and Safety rules are arduous and may be disproportionate, but they are effective and will enhance your reputation when it comes to employee safety. That reputation is priceless, especially in an industry where accidents happen. Your employees will feel respected.

You will also save money and time on your projects as you will have fewer interruptions due to accidents, delighting your clients and improving your profitability.

You need to invest in all your people. Don't expect to get immediate results. Be patient. The return on investment will take time but will reap greater profit.

In conclusion

2024 appears to be a great year for construction employees. Be ready to embrace the change to have more opportunities.

The worldwide main requirements are:

  • improving infrastructure
  • reducing the housing shortage
  • creating sustainable buildings and smart cities.

Recruiting the right people and retaining your current employees will help you to respond to these requirements.

The improvements you can expect from using new recruiting techniques and retention policies are:

  • increased synergies
  • new competitive advantage and knowledge
  • higher profitability
  • shorter life cycles
  • more recurring revenue from non-construction activities.

Driving Vision's organization diagnostic looks at the best way to evaluate which skills you have and if there are gaps to be filled either internally or externally.

The organization report is central to a successful operation, in line with the type of projects you produce and your client’s organization.

A Driving Vision expert will conduct the interviews online, issue a report and discuss with you, our findings.

Together we will decide the best way to implement the solutions at your pace and according to your budget.

Implementing BIM can be daunting, but Driving Vision is here to help you at the pace you are comfortable with. Get started by getting in touch now

What would you do differently if you outsourced the BIM implementation and coordination to us?

The BIM Culture changes the way you think and act

  • Your staff will be encouraged to work in a consistent, predictable and cohesive way
  • All information is connected a powerful way to manage project data from concept to design, through preconstruction all the way to handover

Seamless Data Transfer

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Enhances collaboration between team members

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Allows you to build green constructible assets on budget and on time

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