Texas construction firms struggle to find quality workers

Throughout the state of Texas, construction activity has increased enormously. Every major city and surrounding suburbs is experiencing growth in all sectors, from residential to commercial- and infrastructure-related building. However, in order to ensure that these projects move forward and are completed on-time and within the allocated budget, manpower is a critical component of reaching these goals.

General contractors throughout the state say that good help is hard to find and they are taking any and all steps necessary to alleviate this problem. This includes enlisting the help of manufacturing and engineering recruiters who have experience in this area.

According to a report from The Associated General Contractors of America cited in a blog post by Construction Citizen, the organization polled 1,086 building firms in order to get a better sense of labor-related issues affecting the industry. In Texas, 90 percent of building companies stated that they were having difficulty assembling a workforce that had valuable construction experience. This is due in large part to the Great Recession when building professionals either retired or sought employment in completely separate industries.

Another issue is that educational institutions have made grooming the next wave of construction professionals less of a priority, particularly as technology has become a central teaching focus in schools at all levels.

"As the survey results make clear, many construction firms across the country are having a hard time filling available positions," Ken Simonson, who serves as The Associated General Contractors of America's chief economist, told Construction Citizen. "Considering how much the nation's educational focus has moved away from teaching students career and technical skills during the past few decades, it is easy to understand why the construction industry is facing such severe labor shortages."

A separate report from The Dallas Morning News cited data from the AGCA on the positions that general contractors were having the hardest time filling. The top five were roofers, iron workers, masonry professionals, plumbers and carpenters.  These are all individuals who form the backbone of any successful building project. Without these skilled tradesmen in place, it makes the completion of any construction operation difficult.

The role of recruiters in addressing labor shortages
Engineering and manufacturing recruiters in Texas should see the dilemma faced by general contractors as an opportunity to provide a value-added service to these organizations. Construction is an activity that leaves nothing to chance and requires everyone involved in the process to be fully vested in order to achieve successful outcomes.

If a decision-maker is working to oversee a particular project while also trying to source and mine for candidates, having a dual focus can be detrimental to a construction company. This is where recruiters can turn themselves into a valuable ally.

However, the first step in this process is having a thorough understanding of what the industry needs are. The AGCA report serves as a great launching point for the development of a recruiting plan to find individuals who have the most in-demand skill sets. Once this information has been established, then the recruiting efforts can begin.

This is also a great way for supplemental staffing professionals to begin building candidate pipelines that allow them to be proactive as opposed to reactive when needs arise. Having a roster of individuals who are ready to go to work at a moment's notice provides immediate value for the client and results in creating a mutually beneficial business partnership for both organizations.

The labor issue occurring in Texas is similar to what is taking place across the country. This is an opportunity for recruiters to prove their worth and shine in their area of expertise.