Can text messages help solve construction’s labor shortage?

By Paige HaeffeleMarch 24, 2022

The ongoing labor shortage in the construction industry has left contractors searching for answers on how to find new skilled workers in the midst of the Covid-19 global pandemic, an aging workforce, as well as young people’s lack of exposure to the potential benefits of working in the trades. 

Though the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is projected to create an average of 1.5 million jobs per year over the next 10 years, according to an official White House statement on the bill, the question is, how can construction attract more of those prospective workers?

In recent years, the growth of industries like healthcare, technology and engineering have diverted interest in the trades, according to Propeller Consulting.

Photo courtesy of NordWood Themes on Unsplash

“The construction industry will need to attract nearly 650,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2022 to meet the demand for labor,” according to a model created by Associated Builders and Contractors

A potential solution to this challenge is the digitalization and automation of the hiring process. To provide some insight into this process, we spoke with digital hiring experts at HireVue, a platform designed to streamline the recruiting and hiring process. 

How does recruiting and hiring tech work?

The way people find new job opportunities, engage with potential employers, and make decisions about their professional futures is dramatically different than it was even a decade ago. It was common a couple decades ago to limit searches to our own community, a local job board, or friends and family.

But today, with the rise of digital connectedness and remote work trends in the context of global talent shortages, candidates have more options to consider than ever before.

One of the biggest changes in hiring over the last few years has been the boom in text messaging and chatbot technology. The average email inbox has 199 unread messages, whereas the average person checks their phone 150 times per day – teams looking to hire quickly must pivot to more personalized, rapid communication to stay competitive.

Why use a text recruiting platform?

Text message recruitment saves time, improves the communication process and increases engagement with candidates, according to HireVue. It also can help reduce time to hire, elevate the status of your brand/company, and provide a better candidate experience.

Here are some other important considerations:

Instant access and convenience - Text recruitment can take place anywhere and anytime. You can instantly engage potential candidates and start the conversation via text. Candidates can reply instantly from anywhere - even from the grocery store line or while on a work break. And recruiters can re-engage more quickly.

More effective and flexible - Rather than sending marketing emails or making what feels like endless phone calls and getting no replies, recruiters can optimize their time by sending a text instead. With over 90% open rates, text is the most effective way to reach a large group of people, such as to advertise a seasonal job role or a hiring event or to provide the latest onboarding updates to a new hiring class. Or it can be used for fast, one-on-one communication with candidates who are in the hiring funnel.

Reduce abandonment - Just like a shopping cart (“Forgetting something?”), you can still connect with candidates who may have visited a “Careers” webpage and joined your talent network but didn’t fill out an application.

Stay top of mind - A well-planned outreach plan can encourage candidates to apply and keep them engaged during the hiring process. Afterall, your job may not be the only one they’re applying for. But remember that text recruiting should not be the only conversational recruitment tool you use.

Protect personal privacy - Many recruiters today use their own personal devices to text with candidates, knowing it’ll be more effective than email. But what happens when that recruiter leaves the organization or litigation arises? A text recruiting solution enables recruiters to enjoy the power of text engagement while also protecting their personal privacy and ensuring all candidate communication is on the record.

The bottom line is that a text recruiting platform can be a key component in your recruiting process, enabling your company to compliantly engage candidates that have been out of reach with only email and phone outreach.

Why should construction business owners use a text-enabled hiring platform?

In a competitive job market where hiring is difficult, focusing not only on retaining existing employees, but also helping them grow into new roles is a critical step. With a new wave of automation and digitization entering the workforce, jobs are changing fast. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report suggests that by 2025, 50% of employees will need reskilling — a transition which was accelerated by the pandemic.

We’re all navigating an economy that is, and may continue to be, disruptive and unpredictable. To stay one step ahead in 2022, talent leaders must create both talent acquisition and talent retention strategies that will be effective, even in uncharted waters.

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