Finding quality workers is a challenge in any field, but for the building industry, it has become even more of a problem due to a shortage in construction workers. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 86% of contractors have difficulty filling key jobs despite an increase in demand from a growing market. So while the jobs are coming in, many contractors have to deny some of the work because they don’t have the workers to do the job. However, there are some ways companies can address the shortage and attract and retain their employees.
- Offer a maintenance program. When a roofing company runs out of work during the slow season, they start to lose some of their best people. GAF recently surveyed some Certified Maintenance Professionals (CMP™) and found those who offer the WellRoof® Guarantee Extension are able to close more jobs and increase their revenue. Jeff Storts from Pyramid Roofing Company in Missouri crunched his numbers and found that offering WellRoof® has allowed his company to close an additional 20 jobs a year and increase his revenue by 35%. That has improved employee retention by 80%. More projects translate to more service and maintenance and helps keep those contractors working all year round.
- Use the GAF Roofing Academy to find workers. In partnership with the National Institute of Training & Education (NITE) and U.S. Military Pipeline (USMP), GAF has launched the Roofing Academy, a roof installation-training program that helps transition veterans to the roofing industry. The eight-day course provides a comprehensive steep-slope roofing primer and a high-level introduction to commercial roofing. Training will be held at universities, military bases, and some GAF plant locations.
- Train your team. The Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence (CARE) conducts training and educational programs for the roofing industry. When you properly train your employees and develop their skills, they are more likely to stay and grow with your company.
- Use tools. One way to analyze your labor and create efficiency is through digital tools. Labor Sync®* is a cloud-based labor management solution that allows roofing contractors to monitor the time and location of their workforce from a mobile device. This helps companies communicate more accurately and effectively with their teams and hire more diverse workers, since the tool works in all languages. There are other tools available to help increase efficiency in the field — check out the latest apps from GAF.
- Connect with the younger generation. Vocational education has gone the way of the flip phone. The focus in schools has changed to preparing kids for college, but not all white-collar work is for everyone. This creates an opportunity for construction companies to go into high schools and community colleges to highlight the benefits of a skilled labor career as an alternative. Educate students and offer apprenticeships to learn the trade. Discuss opportunities for career advancement into construction management.
The good news is the construction industry has been improving and there is plenty of work. The focus has shifted from finding the jobs to acquiring the people to do them, but with a plan and focus you can find the right workers for your company and keep them happy.