Employment rates in the construction industry ebb and flow with much less reliability than the rhythm of the tide. The current talent drought offers professionals an opportunity to begin their construction careers with fewer barriers to entry. Alternatively, professionals who left the industry for other careers might take advantage of the chance to return.
Learn on the Job
When construction companies fail to find enough employees to staff their projects, they reduce their hiring requirements. Candidates with no training or experience suddenly become attractive hires because, with on-the-job training, they’ll become valued members of the team.
When you accept employment that includes training, you earn a paycheck from day one. Furthermore, you learn the ropes based on your employer’s preferences, which gives you an edge in job performance.
Earn Licenses on Your Employer’s Dime
In some cases, construction outfits pay for employees to earn certifications and licenses after extending employment. A certified heavy equipment operator, for example, commands a salary between $12 and $27 per hour, according to Payscale.com. A laborer earns considerably less.
During a talent drought, construction company owners realize that they must invest in their employees to ensure their projects reach completion. If they can’t find a licensed heavy equipment operator, for example, it makes sense to hire an unlicensed professional and pay for the appropriate training and testing.
Gain Negotiating Power
When construction companies need workers to staff their projects, they loosen the purse strings to sweeten the deal. Not only might they negotiate to meet your salary requirements, but they could add other bonuses to your hiring package, such as better benefits or more paid vacation.
Don’t rely on a talent shortage as your only ace in the hole. When negotiating your hiring salary, Forbes recommends playing your strengths and differentiators to your advantage. Know what sets you apart from the crowd, then communicate those assets to your prospective boss.
Find Work Faster
A lay-off or reduction-in-force can send your stress levels soaring, but a talent shortage allows you to find work immediately. You don’t have to pound the pavement for weeks (or months) at a time to find a new source of employment.
In your rush to sign on the dotted line, however, beware the potential for missed opportunities. If you recognize a talent shortage, use it to your advantage. Paint yourself in the brightest color possible by updating your resume, writing a compelling cover letter, and communicating to potential employers exactly what you want in compensation.
Close the Skills Gap
MBA types constantly argue about the existence – or non-existence – of the skills gap. Regardless of your perspective on the subject, recognize that a talent shortage narrows whatever gap might separate employers and workers.
Construction companies know that they sometimes must cross-train employees if they want to keep projects humming forward on schedule. Furthermore, they recognize the value of a dedicated, hard-working employee, so make sure you appeal to that necessity.
When the construction industry experiences a talent shortage, you stand to gain considerable assets as a result. Use it to your advantage, but keep a plan in mind for your future career goals.