Workforce Shortage? Four Tips on how to Navigate the Challenges
Some tips on what you can do to meet the workforce challenge head-on…
Accessing skilled talent is a challenge not only in BC but right across Canada. Although initially impacted by COVID 19, the construction industry was deemed essential in several regions of the country and has rebounded relatively quickly in comparison to other sectors. Some reports speculate that due to an aging demographic, our industry could lose up to 22% of its workforce due to retirements in the next decade, while forecasting we will only be able to recruit and train 228,000 skilled tradespeople, leaving construction employers with a shortfall of 81,000 workers by 2030*. So, finding construction talent and new sources for that talent could make or break your bottom line.
Here are some tips on what you can do to meet the workforce challenges head-on…
Construction employers who deploy a mix of strategies to source, attract and retain workers in the next decade, will be more successful in finding the best talent. The traditional approach of relying on word of mouth to advertise your hiring just won’t cut it. Instead, consider how you’re going to:
- Ensure recruitment is one of several connected ‘people foundations’ of your business. Think less about the immediate challenge of sourcing new talent to plug a gap and more about proactively attracting the best talent. Also, consider what you need to change in your business today to retain those assets for the long haul.
- Integrate HR into your operations. If you haven’t yet invested in creating a dedicated role for an HR professional in your team, then consider doing it. HR is much more than recruitment; it is about people, productivity, and performance. No matter how unique your product or service, it is your people that will deliver on your promise. And don’t forget, the most effective HR solution for your business is one that has a permanent seat at the senior decision-making table.
- Develop your ‘people culture’ by asking yourself: What’s our current approach to recruitment and retention; does it need to change? Is our team a carbon copy of me/our leaders; will that help us evolve our business? How do we reward our people; is it money, benefits, career progression, or a mix of these? Can we better leverage supports like BCCA Employee Benefit Trust? Do we know why staff leave our employment; if not, why? How can I tap into Builders Code to help build our people and our productivity? Do we continue to source talent from the same places we always have; is it time to try something different?
- Tap into new sources of talent. Move beyond word of mouth and the usual online job portals to advertise your roles and consider connecting directly with your local WorkBC job developer; building a relationship with relevant program coordinators in your local educational institutes; and tapping into the free workforce placement programs of your local construction association. For example, BC Construction Association has two excellent programs: Skilled Trades Employment Program, a BC-based initiative that provides you with direct access to new trades talent entering the workforce, and BCCA-Integrating Newcomers, a Canada-wide program that provides construction employers with free, first access to high skilled, construction talent approved to immigrate to Canada as Permanent Residents.
About the author
Linda Ryan is National Program Manager with BCCA-Integrating Newcomers, a government-funded, Canada-wide, pre-arrival career advice and employment coaching service for high skilled construction professionals immigrating to Canada. Funded by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the program is hosted by BC Construction Association under its workforce development stream. The BCCA-IN team helps connect high skilled construction newcomers with employers. The program is a free, pre-arrival, nationwide service, and occupations supported include the skilled trades, licensed technical professions (e.g., engineer, architect, quantity surveyors, H&S, etc.), and a wide variety of strategic business disciplines.
*Source: Forecast Summary Reports | BuildForce Canada – 2021 National Summary