Posted April 13, 2021

Outsmarting the labor shortage: Successfully retain temporary contractors in 2021

GigSmart connects connect businesses and private users looking for labor with local workers.

by Rich Oakes, President of GigSmart

Contractors across the country have had to halt, postpone, or cancel projects due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which doesn’t include the other threats posed by the construction industries skilled labor shortage.

The Associated General Contractors of America found that 52% of construction firms are having a hard time filling hourly craft positions. Furthermore, there is no confirmed end in sight for these hiring challenges as new issues continue to plague the construction industry, like worker safety and uncertainty about what comes next.

If you’ve experienced a construction labor shortage or are struggling to find qualified, skilled workers, you’re not alone. Fortunately, skilled temporary workers can help construction companies not only survive the current market but also thrive in it. Fluctuations in demand for construction services make temporary labor a necessity in the COVID era. Here’s why.

Avoid turnover by combatting worker exhaustion
Worker storages often lead companies to over-schedule workers in order to meet demanding construction schedules. According to the ADP Workforce Vitality Index report, the Construction industry has a national average turnover rate of 58.4%. The top reason employees quit? Forbes says it’s being overworked.

Companies can help prevent worker exhaustion, and improve worker retention, by utilizing temporary construction workers to supplement their existing workforce. This will ensure employees aren’t working too many hours, providing permanent crew members the support they need to be successful while preventing worker exhaustion.

Retain workers with specialized skills
While some construction jobs are similar in nature, other projects might require entirely different skills and or specialities. Because tasks can be very different, firms are struggling to fill key roles on jobsites. Among the most severe shortages reported were for general laborers, carpenters, heavy equipment operators, and truck drivers.

Don’t risk turning jobs away or extending project timelines. Temporary labor gives you a way to access specialized workers on-demand. Break your bid up into its individual components and identify the portions where temporary labor can be utilized. A fluid mix of full-time crew members with independent contractors will reduce overhead while giving you a highly skilled team, specialized in delivering the particular services that align to your project.

Test employee skill sets through “trial runs”
Have you ever hired someone who was not a good fit? Temporary labor reduces risk by allowing you to have a “trial run” with potential hires before offering them a full-time position. This allows you to evaluate worker performance, skill, and fit before offering up full-time positions.

Temporary labor gives you a means to hire full-time workers with 100% confidence. GigSmart, reported that in Q4 2021, the number of hourly shift workers converted to full-time employees increased 167%, confirming the desire for warehouse companies to retain top talent once identified.

Remain adaptable to post-pandemic risks
2020 was a year unlike any other. In times of uncertainty, it might not be the time for your company to staff up with full-time employees.

Future project pipelines are thinning — 60% report that projects have been postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic. We do not yet know what all of 2021 will hold for the construction industry and are still unsure of the long-term impacts of the pandemic.

Instead of staffing up your construction crew, formulate project-by-project teams utilizing temporary labor to fill in the gaps. By doing so, you can quickly scale construction crews based on your project needs.

Diversifying your construction staffing strategy by hiring a mix of W2 employees, third-party outsourced solutions, and independent contractors so that you’re set up for long-term.

Utilize pre-vetted candidates on staffing platforms
Despite uncertainty, 40% of construction firms expect to recall and/or add employees in the next year. With an increasingly competitive hiring environment and shortage of qualified workers, staffing platforms can make the hiring process easier for you.

Traditional staffing agencies come at high costs and can lack skilled trade focus. Working with an agency is expensive and slow-moving. It can take 3-5 days to get a worker on-site, and once you have that worker, you’ll end up paying a 45-60% markup on their hourly wage. This is a luxury that many companies cannot afford.

On the alternative, Craigslist does not provide worker vetting or accountability. Now, this is still significantly cheaper than a staffing agency, however the affordability is often not worth the time required to sort through the flood of unvetted, non-standardized applicants. It is also important to note the workers you hire through Craigslist are not insured or reviewed.

Modern hiring solutions, like GigSmart Get Workers, can connect businesses with workers based on skill-matching for a low fee. With over 65,000 active construction workers available for hire, you gain fast access to qualified applicants - even for same-day shifts!

Temporary workers can help keep your full-time employees happier, allow you to rapidly grow (or shrink) your crew based on project needs, give you better access to specialized skills, or provide an additional means to vet potential full-time hires.

Hiring temporary workers allows you to expand your candidate pool to the rapidly growing pool of millions of talented and experienced workers who are now contracting. Leverage these workers to combat the construction labor shortage and thrive in 2021.

About GigSmart
GigSmart is a staffing company focused on providing modern solutions to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving economy. GigSmart's apps, Get Workers and Get Gigs, connect businesses and residential users looking for labor with local workers. The apps are available in all 50 states serving industries including construction, manufacturing, food service, delivery services, transportation, retail, customer service, and professional services.