It’s no secret that the U.S. construction industry is facing a notable staffing challenge. Even though the number of professionals in construction has grown to pre-pandemic levels, skilled workers that can keep projects moving on time and on budget are difficult to come by. So, ensuring that you can bring them on board when you do find them is essential. 

That is more easily said than done right now, though, as the makings of an attractive offer have changed substantially. Workers do not want the same things as they once did, and businesses need to rethink their offerings to hire successfully and maintain employee satisfaction. Michael Page is calling this complete shift in workers’ demands and attitudes, “The Invisible Revolution,” and it is something that those hiring in the construction industry should be aware of. 

Michael Page has recently conducted a global study across all sectors of thousands of professionals— the largest of its kind — in order to gain valuable insight into the mindset of workers and how it has changed.

Here are the four things we learned from the survey of construction professionals, and how you can respond:

1. Employees Are Very Open to New Jobs

There will always be people looking for a new job, but the “grass is always greener” mindset is even stronger now. Of the people we surveyed, 84% of those working in construction said that they were open to new opportunities. 

This means that right now is actually a great time to be hiring, especially if you have a strong employee value proposition (EVP) and a well-thought-out recruitment process. At the same time, retaining your best people is going to be difficult if you do nothing differently. You will have to make an effort to both retain and attract talent, which makes understanding the employee mindset essential.

2. A Struggling Economy Will Not Deter Candidates

In the past, we’ve seen employees stay put during periods of economic troubles, as they were usually nervous to make job changes or take risks. This is not the case anymore, as 52% of construction professionals said they are more likely to look for a new job when the economy is performing poorly. 

Simply put, if someone is unhappy or gets a better offer, they are very likely to make a move, regardless of the macroeconomic environment.

3. Work-life Balance is More Important Than Ever

Of those construction professionals we surveyed, 53% said work-life balance is the most important factor in their job satisfaction. This means that for many, salary now ranks as second priority. Consider this when making offers or building out your EVP, as high salaries alone will not be enough to maintain or grow your team.

4. Flexible Working Hours Are in Demand

An overwhelming 75% of construction professionals told us they are seeking flexibility in their working hours. While this may not be realistic on construction sites, those roles that operate primarily in offices (such as estimators or project managers) could benefit from some control over their hours. 

This can be extremely impactful for people with family responsibility, or personal commitments outside of work. Being too firm and rigid with hours and office attendance could drive your best talent away. 

Our Recommendations:

  • Re-think your sourcing strategy. If hiring for multiple roles is not currently in your plans, make room for it. Even the best employers will see attrition in this environment, so prepare as best you can.
  • Review your current EVP and identify areas you can strengthen. Can you loosen rules or restrictions to improve work-life balance? If so, this can help with retention and set you apart from your competitors.
  • See this as an opportunity. If the majority of professionals are open to new roles, that means that your offer could be the one that entices them to leave. If you can set yourself apart as a top employer, you'll have your pick of available talent.
  • Work with a recruitment partner to manage it all. This shift can be challenging to manage, and there are many factors to consider when you’re deciding how to respond. Michael Page is a market leader in construction recruitment with the largest team of specialist consultants in the country, so we are perfectly positioned to consult you through new hiring strategies.

For more insights from our recent global study around employee attitudes and this overall change in workplace culture, read our report, The Invisible Revolution.

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