State of the Labor Shortage and 7 Recruiting Actions for Today

It is the unpleasant reality that skilled labor is in short supply, with 300,000¹ Boomers retiring², lack of CTE education³, negative perceptions about blue collar work⁴, college track pressure⁵, and historic economic dips⁶ contributing to the shortage. These factors, combined with a projected industry growth of 14% over the next 10 years⁷, indicate that the challenge to find skilled workers is not going away anytime soon⁸.

Contractors, associations (such as IEC⁹ & AGC¹⁰), programs like mikeroweWORKS¹¹, and individuals like Kevin Fleming¹² are all contributing to long-term solution strategies by promoting the skilled trades as a high-value career option. “As electricians, we offer a great Employee Value Proposition: No college debt, a true earn-and-learn 4-year training program that leads to a great job market with great pay and entry into the workforce with above entry-level marketable skills,” shared Spenser Villwock, CEO of IEC. Many contractors grow their own employees by networking and inviting individuals to build a trades career within their company. “Find someone who is mechanically inclined and they can become useful pretty quickly,” said Gary Golka, president of Golka Electric, Inc., National Secretary of IEC, and former Chairman of IEC’s Apprenticeship and Training Committee, in a recent interview. Going forward into 2017, Bruce Seilhammer, group manager at SECCO, Inc., and IEC’s current President, encourages contractors to “get involved sooner in the educational process. Get to folks at the high school level and let them know there is a great living to be made where they can use their heads and hands. This issue isn’t going away soon; be proactive.”

With no quick-fix materializing, the frustration around recruiting skilled workers is likely to continue as contractors are forced to turn away project opportunities to maintain their standard of customer service. Long-term strategic efforts are vital to diminishing the labor shortage for the future, but what can a contractor do today to attract skilled workers to their company?

Here are 7 online marketing tactics to consider integrating into your overall recruiting strategy:

1. Define Your Ideal Employee: Get clear on your ideal hire.

Ask yourself: If you could have 10 new employees, but they all had to be a clone of 1 of your existing employees, who would you choose? The best way to find that employee is to identify who is the most profitable, a joy to work with, refers your company to potential new employees, and who you would genuinely like to have more of. When you can name who it is you want on your team, you can identify what would attract them to work for your company. See the Resources link in the byline for more details. Once you have identified this Ideal Employee, ask, “What is important to them in an employer?” or “What part of my Employee Value Proposition would most appeal to this candidate?”

According to an MRI Network survey, an overwhelming 90% of recruiters say the market is becoming increasingly candidate-driven¹³. Use this to your advantage and develop language in your advertisements that speaks directly to the desires of your Ideal Employee, encouraging them to open an employment conversation with you. Action: Revisit your Employee Value Proposition from the eyes of your Ideal Employee.

2. Optimize Your Website: Let it recruit for you.

Visit your website and read the pages related to employment with your company. Review the pages as if you were your Ideal Employee. Imagine that this page had been built specifically for you. Does the language resonate with you? Are the images/videos engaging to look at? Is the information relevant and interesting? Your recruiting page should be designed for your Ideal Employee and no one else. This is usually difficult to execute because we are afraid of potentially losing other possible recruits.