Construction companies in the Delaware Valley will need to recruit 10,827 blue-collar workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2022 to meet the demands of the current building market. These statistics are based on forecasts from Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC), an association comprised primarily of U.S. firms that work in industrial and commercial construction sectors.
"The construction industry desperately needs qualified, skilled craft professionals to build America," said Michael Bellaman, ABC president and CEO. "The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in November and stimulus from COVID-19 relief will pump billions in new spending into our nation's most critical infrastructure, and qualified craft professionals are essential to efficiently modernize roads, bridges, energy production, and other projects across the country. More regulations and less worker freedom make it harder to fill these jobs."
The construction industry's appetite for new hires in the Philadelphia area will continue into 2023, according to ABC. It is expected that during that year, an additional 9,827 blue-collar workers in addition to the normal pace of hiring.
"With many industries outside of construction also competing for increasingly scarce labor, the industry must take drastic steps to ensure future workforce demands are met," says ABC Chief Economist Anriban Basu.
To find the construction workers needed, many Philadelphia business owners continue to pursue a failed recruitment strategy of posting open jobs on websites like Indeed or Monster. Some are purchasing newspaper ads. Some are pleading for candidates on their social media pages. Still, others are hanging 'help wanted' signs.
By any metric, however, the best way to reach local blue-collar job candidates is by advertising on Philadelphia radio.
Every week, according to Neilsen, Philadelphia radio reaches significantly more blue-collar and construction workers than all other advertising options, especially online job boards.
Recruiting blue-collar and construction workers in Philadelphia has become especially difficult because of the record-high number of employees quitting their current jobs. According to the Wall Street Journal, those currently not working are in no hurry to return to the labor market. The lack of urgency stems from five primary reasons:
According to the Wall Street Journal, those not currently working say they are in no hurry to return to the workforce. The lack of urgency stems from five primary reasons:
- 29% say they don't need to work right now because their spouse is employed
- 28% say they cannot return to work because of care responsibilities at home
- 25% say they don't need to return to work because they have a financial cushion
- 20% say they are fearful of returning to work because of COVID-19
- 5% say they do not need to return because of current unemployment benefits
There seems to be little chance that these resigned workers can be lured back into the Philadelphia labor force anytime soon. Therefore, to fill open jobs, local business owners will need to focus their efforts towards recruiting among Philadelphia's 'passive" job' seekers.
According to the Society For Human Resource Management, passive job seekers are "individuals who are currently employed and not actively looking for a new job, but who may be open to a good career opportunity if one came along."
The SHRM website goes on to explain that "many employers target passive job seekers because they are looking for candidates who have positive employment records and who are satisfied with and successful in their work. Employers often target passive job seekers because of the lack of qualified job candidates to fill critical roles. Locating, wooing, and successfully luring passive job seekers are vital for organizations to remain competitive in a tight labor market.
In Philadelphia, according to Nielsen, 95,593 construction workers meet the SHRM definition of passive job seekers. Because these highly coveted workers aren't looking for a job, using online job sites and newspaper classified advertising is not a good advertising choice.
Philadelphia radio, however, reaches the largest number of local, passive job seekers currently employed in the construction trades, according to Nielsen.
Local construction companies considering robust recruitment efforts should start advertising now as the pool of qualified workers falls victim every day to another trend in the building trades...retirement.
According to the CDC, the average retirement age for construction workers is 61. Today, 20% of construction workers are between 55 and 60.
To fulfill the labor void created by resigning and retiring workers, local construction companies need more than 'help-wanted' signs and job postings. Instead, they should employ the expansive reach of Philadelphia radio.
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