In an environment of low unemployment, snow contractors compete with more industries for reliable workers. Jobs like low-skilled fast food workers and cashiers to higher-skilled maintenance and manufacturing all poach from the available labor pool we are trying to access. Construction has been scrambling for workers particularly hard post-recession. The industry has created about 200,000 jobs a year since 2015, and the industry is predicting a deficit of 1.6 million workers by 2022. Here are a few tips construction companies use to help recruit and retain workers:

  1. Create a safe place to work. Companies with a culture of safety are more attractive to skilled workers who are shopping around for the best jobs.
  2. Carefully screen job applicants. Replacing employees is difficult and expensive. Retention is an effective way to keep crews staffed.
  3. Constantly train employees. Help employees keep their skills up to date, and encourage long-timers to mentor and pass their knowledge on to newcomers. Enlist manufacturers of the products you buy to train your crews.
  4. Coach the employees of the future. Work with high schools to identify students who are not suited for the four-year college track, and redirect them to apprenticeships and training programs that prepare them to work in the industry.
  5. Crank up pay and benefits. When there’s stiff competition for crews and contracts, the employer with the best perks and pay is likely to win at recruiting.
  6. Cater to older employees. Offer the same training opportunities to middle-aged workers as to the younger crews, and take their needs into consideration when evaluating jobsite safety.
  7. Catch them on the rebound. Is there a closing Sam’s Club or Sears by you? Understand your local economy so you can capitalize on shifting dynamics in retail and other service or manufacturing jobs.