Since 2008, the US labor force has been steadily declining. This year, only 62.8% of the population is working or actively looking for work. Part of this is due to all those Baby Boomers who are leaving the workforce.

Economists predict that the situation will not improve over the next several years. As time goes on, many companies will find it increasingly difficult to recruit employees.

Good employees are the lifeblood of your construction firm. But with a smaller working population where can you go to find employees?

Read on to learn how to find employees and keep them.

Spread the Word to Local Students

Local schools are the place where to find employees. Reach out to high schools in your area about giving a presentation to the students to introduce them to the construction industry. You could also rent a table at the school’s job fair.

Offer summer jobs or internship opportunities to help students get a sense of what construction is all about. This way, you will be the first company students turn to in order to get their foot in the door.

There are a few national programs that you can get involved with to introduce youth to the construction industry. ACE Mentor Programs of America and YouthBuild USA are both excellent resources to connect with young workers.

The local college and university is another place you should visit to find good employees. Offering co-ops is a valuable way that you can spread awareness of your company and recruit employees You might even be able to work with the schools to create an apprenticeship agreement.

Offer Employee Benefits

You might not be able to pay your employees more than the competition. Yet, offering a comprehensive benefits package may well make you construction workers’ first choice. In fact, 79% of employees would rather have new or added benefits over a raise.

Good employees are loyal employees. One survey found that 60% of employees reported that a benefits package is extremely or very important to their employer loyalty.

Medical and dental coverage and a life insurance program will go a long way in helping you recruit and keep good employees.

Check with the business organizations that you are part of. Many, such as the Chamber of Commerce, offer inexpensive employee benefit programs.

Offer Signing Bonuses

When potential employees are choosing where they want to work, a simple signing bonus may tip the scale in your favor.

Make the signing bonus sweet enough to entice employees.

Also, take care that your signing bonuses are conditional on a minimum employment term. Otherwise, new hires could take the money and leave your employ shortly after.

If you’re concerned about your budget, think about the key strategies you can use to reduce labor cost.

Spread Word About Your Safety Culture

The construction industry and safety go hand-in-hand. Whenever possible, highlight your company’s safety standards in order to recruit employees.

Talk about your long-term safety record and your organization’s culture and focus around safety. This is a concern for many construction workers (as it should be).

So being forthcoming about your safety culture can alleviate a lot of concerns and hesitations a potential employee might have.

It also shows that you are focused on your employees’ health and well-being. Both are important features in keeping employees.

Offer Career Paths

The best employees are those that are looking to make progressive careers. They want to know that there is room for growth when they gain seniority with your organization.

Let new recruits (and existing employees) know about all advancement opportunities. Highlight possible career paths to prospective employees (especially those that are still students).

Invest in employees by taking the time to discuss career goals with your workers. Then, outline the training or further education they need to reach those goals.

Better still, offer company support in helping employees reach their milestones. This can be in way of tuition reimbursement, mentoring opportunities or in-house training.

Providing exciting career paths is one of the best ways how to recruit employees. It also builds employee loyalty so that the employees you have now, stay with your company.

Engage Current Employees

That brings us to our next point. Engaging current employees may be the single best way you can fight against a worker shortage.

It’s more economical to keep the employees you already have than to have a high turnover and need to constantly be hiring.

Every employee is different so the best way you can find out what you can do to keep employees engaged is to ask them. Surprisingly, only 39% of construction companies measure employee engagement.

When you show your workers that you care about their future and are willing to invest in each of them, you exponentially increase your chances of keeping employees.

Not only that, they will be a valuable tool in recruitment as they tell their connections through word-of-mouth about how great it is to work for your firm.

Final Thoughts on How to Find Employees

The main 3 takeaways from this article on how to find employees are first, that you need to focus on the employees you already have.

Secondly, target high-school and college students by offering valuable work experience. And third, even if you can’t pay more, find ways to offer incentives so that the best employees are drawn to your organization.

While you’re here, check out 7 super helpful tips to avoid costly construction delays.