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tackling the skills shortage: how to attract and retain white collar workers.

The construction sector has reached a crossroads. With many white collar workers reaching retirement age, there’s a need to hold on to experienced industry professionals, while bringing younger people into the changing world of construction. 

But how do you create an environment where people want to work… and ultimately stay? What can be done to bring up-and-coming talent through the ranks? Here, we take a look at how to attract and retain talent – both now and in the future…

Attracting white collar workers

The talent pool might be shrinking, but skilled workers are out there. In order to ensure they choose you over a competitor, you need to think smart and go further to stand out.

Strong candidates want to join forward-thinking construction businesses. Entice them by showcasing the exciting developments you’re working on, and what innovations, such as technology, mark you out in the sector. Give them a glimpse of the opportunities at your company, and the wide range of projects they’ll be involved in.

It’s also essential to get your culture right. Making your working environment more inclusive (from offering flexible working to addressing a gender imbalance) will help you attract talent from a number of backgrounds, especially if it’s communicated well during the recruitment process. 

Most of all, there needs to be room for progression. A competitive salary and employee benefits are important, but people want to know at the application stage that they’ll be rewarded for their commitment in both the short and long term.

Closing the construction skills gap 

There seems to be little doubt that construction firms are going to struggle to replace the white collar workers that are nearing retirement. Yet the industry is currently employing less than the average number of apprentices each year in comparison to other sectors. 
Government and industry need to work together to identify where gaps need filling, and change the way construction is perceived. Exposing young people to the various disciplines at all stages of education will attract more applicants to white collar careers, especially when paired with a greater number of quality apprenticeship opportunities.

To really address the skills shortage, employers need to invest in identifying, educating and nurturing future workers now. 

Retaining the right people

The challenge then becomes about retaining top talent. The key to making any worker stay is to build an environment that they look forward to coming into. Until the balance shifts back in their favour, employers are going to have to work hard to ensure employee benefits, as well as salaries, keep up with the competitive market. 

This includes making good on the level of career advancement and personal development promised during recruitment. Young people especially need encouragement in order to flourish in white collar jobs. They also need a little leeway to make mistakes and learn from them. With the right support, talented employees will stick around and build a history with the company, making them a valuable asset.

Here at BuildSpace, we’re committed to helping construction firms tackle the skills shortage head-on. Our team recognised the need for change in this market long ago, which is why we’ve adapted the usual agency model to be able to attract the best talent in the sector. 

Struggling to fill key roles? Don’t hesitate to contact our offsite construction recruiters with any enquiries. 

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