Getting the best tech talent into construction
The digital revolution has brought with it a huge surge in the number of industries that have previously resisted technology suddenly finding themselves gearing up for digital transformation. Despite being a sector grounded in traditional methods, construction is definitely starting to embrace technological advances today. We speak with Zoe Morris, President of Washington Frank, about how to make the most of this digital revolution by attracting the best tech talent into the industry.
Companies of all sizes have seen the difference that digital integration can make, and the benefits are impossible to ignore. As a staffing firm specialising in niche technologies, we have seen a steady rise in the number of professionals moving into the construction industry to work with ERP systems being introduced there.
A platform that can improve your estimating, as well as link up to give you a holistic view of the entire process through to completion, can only improve the way a business works. It means projects are as lean and efficient as possible, saving time and money when competition in the industry is fiercer than ever.
While the impact IT has had on the sector has been almost exclusively positive, construction isn’t the only area to have benefitted from it. As a result, skilled workers are in short supply and the real challenge now is effectively recruiting that limited talent. Many experts have predicted a shortage of up to 1.5 million professionals by 2020, making your hiring strategy a vital priority if you want to be prepared.
Before you begin
Firstly, you’ll need to make sure your organisation is an attractive proposition to what will likely be a new type of employee. The power in the tech job market absolutely lies with the jobseeker, with many unfilled vacancies and competitive salaries for them to choose from. While turnover can be high, making sure you can be taken seriously as a destination has to be high on your list.
Look at the benefits that appeal to those you’re hiring. We regularly carry out research of those working within the technologies we recruit for to gauge the landscape effectively. Working from home almost always features as the most preferred benefit, so looking at the flexibility you give your IT team is a must. The most in-demand professionals won’t just want it, they’ll expect it.
Contributing to ongoing certifications, training and qualifications also scores highly potential hires, so be prepared to factor this in, too. As technology evolves, so should your workforce. Re-training is an essential cost and the most valuable workers want to be kept at the cutting edge of the revolution.
If you scour LinkedIn for those who are qualified in the areas you’re recruiting for, you’ll likely notice one similarity quite quickly; the majority of your potential new recruits will likely be white men. The STEM community often records poor statistics when it comes to representation. Fixing this isn’t just the socially right thing to do, it will also give you a head start during the recruitment stage and enrich your business immeasurably in the long run.
We often see ads punctuated with masculine-sounding descriptors such as warriors, ninjas, and builders. You could bet money on the fact that an ad with more gender-neutral language like ‘creative’ and ‘problem solver’ will be more successful and attract a more diverse range of talented applicants. Making a conscious effort to use unbiased language will make sure potential applicants aren’t discouraged from contacting you.
With a bigger pool to draw from than your rivals, you benefit from improved staffing opportunities and make a contribution towards better representation within the industry. And, as the modern jobseeker actively looks at a potential employer’s wider social outlook before applying, it will help make you a more attractive option to people from all backgrounds.
Re-train to sustain
Another successful strategy is looking for talent that is already within your organisation. Many businesses have looked to cross-train existing staff who have an interest in IT as a career, even if they have very limited experience working with it. It’s certainly a labour-intensive way of achieving it, but it is possible.
An employee who is quick and enthusiastic to learn is likely to have transferable skills that can be applied to acquiring—and mastering—new skills. This method requires patience on many levels, as what is likely to be a busy tech team will work slower as they try and integrate new members into it. Similarly, you’ll be down in numbers elsewhere while you have an employee getting up to speed in another part of the business.
Many of the changes you look to make to attract workers, such as fostering a more inclusive culture, play a role in encouraging staff to stay with you in the long term too. The things that tempt people away from your company are exactly the same things that will keep them with you.
As the demand for talented ERP professionals is on the increase across many different industries, it’s important that construction does its best to make the sector an enticing place to develop a career in. Many exciting innovations are being introduced, making it a real contender for highly qualified and ambitious workers, but that alone won’t attract the people you need.
An effective recruiting strategy isn’t difficult, it just needs to be mapped out and accompanied by a way to retain staff if you want to combat the shortage of available digital talent.
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