There’s no escaping that the construction industry suffers from a labor shortage, and it’s only getting worse with an increasingly aging workforce.
In 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median age in the construction industry was 42.9. With fewer trade schools available and a career in the trades unattractive to young workers, many problems face skilled trades companies that need to be remedied to ensure projects are completed on time and to a high standard.
Teaming up with skilled trades staffing agencies is one way to always have a deep bench of workers you can recruit who are qualified and job-ready. But what do the best skilled trades staffing agencies do differently?
The Best Skilled Trades Staffing Agencies: What They do Differently
Construction companies have enough to worry about with labor shortages, supply chain, pricing issues, adapting to COVID-19, and new technology to implement.
The best skilled trades staffing agencies lighten the load by providing qualified, job-ready, experienced workers, solving at least one of those problems.
But how do you know you’re partnering with the best agency? Here are five things to look out for.
#1. They Are Industry Specific
Recruitment isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. If a staffing agency works in different sectors, they might understand the broad basics of recruitment but won’t be up to speed with exactly what a construction project needs.
You need the flexibility to hire skilled trades at different points in your project. The best skilled trades staffing agencies facilitate high-quality construction projects on time and within budget.
What is the role? What are your requirements? When do you need workers? What level of experience do they need? Asking the right questions early in the planning process ensures no last-minute scrambles for skilled tradespeople.
A niche staffing agency focused on specific industries validates your recruitment plan so you can hire quickly and efficiently.
#2. They Provide A Deeper Bench
Standard recruitment practices aren’t cutting it anymore. Every time you need reinforcements or the demands of a project change, you’re left without the talent you need.
Niche recruiters identify tradespeople with experience in the demands of your specific project so you can stop costly delays and avoid training generalists on the job. They anticipate your workforce requirements and help identify risks for the project that may require proactive recruiting or access to additional contingent labor. This means that the agency will work with clients at an early stage to help with the bidding process, educate on the labor market, and identify risks.
The best skilled trades staffing agencies have spent years building an extensive network of skilled trades who are thoroughly vetted, job-ready, and fill specific roles safely and efficiently.
#3. They Streamline Your Recruiting Process
Communication is key. Maintaining a solid relationship with your business is crucial for a staffing agency. General and large recruitment agencies aren’t transparent about what they can deliver, and job boards force you to compete with every project that can post a job listing.
Communication early in your project is essential. Once a plan is established, the best skilled trades staffing agencies use up-to-date technology to streamline your recruitment process. That means no spreadsheets, paper resumes, or hardcopy documents.
It means an applicant tracking system to locate applicant records quickly, screen out under-qualified candidates with the right questions, and an online employee portal to take the pressure off your HR department, allowing them to focus on more crucial tasks.
Moreso, the agency will know the clients' needs and can discern skill level better than a generalist. The key here is that the agency understands the unique needs and lifestyles of the field employees to:
- keep them happy,
- and present for the duration of the project.
That value cannot be understated when working in skilled trades.
#4. They Offer Multiple Points of Contact Throughout Your Project
The best skilled trades staffing agencies have open lines of communication. They always follow up on emails, calls, inquiries and take emergency hires seriously. They understand your specific needs and pain points and are a resource of industry knowledge.
They’re proactive, setting clear timelines and deadlines for the recruitment and retention of candidates. What will you need immediately after candidate screening is complete? Video interviews? Training? Onboarding?
But what's the secret sauce for having this level of communication and specialization? The community of tradespeople that the best skilled agency has cultivated over time. Not just a job board, but the agency knows their tradespeople very well including their specialization, their interests, and knowing if they are a right fit for the job.
The best agencies treat their highly skilled talent more than just a number with:
- reasons to come work for the agency (salary, benefits, job fit)
- reasons to stay (work culture, safety, feeling valued)
- and reasons to refer (proactive employment, work-life balance, opportunities for growth).
Being flexible is ahead of the curve, allowing you to hire confidently.
#5. They Use Technology to Drive Efficient Recruitment
Technology not only draws younger workers to the industry; it also makes your life easier.
It’s essential to have a remote recruitment process. You won’t always be able to meet candidates face-to-face, and tools like video interviewing, online assessments, and candidate portals allow a staffing agency to cast its net wider but still focus on specific roles and screening the best candidates.
Technology increases flexibility. The best skilled trades staffing agencies mix and match tools depending on your needs.
Online assessments help to screen out candidates who don’t answer questions correctly. You can find out if candidates have the required knowledge and skills, are site-ready, and are up-to-date on safety requirements. Will they work well in a team?
Technology streamlines the recruitment process by efficiently matching candidates to the right roles and keeping them engaged. An interactive process leaves them with a positive impression of your company with good communication, even if they don’t get the position.
The Best Skilled Trades Staffing Agencies Know What You Need
To avoid a manpower crisis, the best skilled trades staffing agencies utilize the tools described above to connect a validated plan with proven and reliable skilled labor resources.
You need tradespeople with skills and experience to support your project's unique demands. By embracing technology, streamlining recruitment practices, and, most importantly, knowing your requirements, niche staffing agencies provide suitable manpower when needed.
To avoid a crisis and get ahead of your next project, reach out to Industrial Skilled Trades and validate your plan.