Over the last couple of weeks, our team have been discussing the salary expectation of candidates as it’s been observed construction salaries have increased $20k - $30k over the last 12 months. Due to this salary increase, construction professionals are now more likely to hit their salary peak in their 30's, whereas in years past they would hit their peak in their 40's.
This significant increase in salary has become a challenge for our clients. Not only have they lost great talent that is seeking a higher salary but are finding it difficult to attract talent as they may be unable, due to project margins, to pay a higher salary.
So the million-dollar question is… how can construction firms keep staff and attract great talent if they can't pay higher because they’re constrained by margins?
Without a doubt the most talked-about and in-demand perk from all professionals within construction is flexibility.
It used to be that the construction professional had the highest workload of all Australian industries, putting in 13 hour days, 6-7 days a week. However, both the construction employee and employer recognised it didn’t have to be that way in this modern age.
The companies that are attracting the best talent are those that offer workplace flexibility, such as time in lieu of weekends worked, flexible working hours, regular working from home routines and buying extra leave.
The end result of increased flexibility in the construction sector is increased workplace satisfaction and productivity have increased. Construction firms are realising that when professionals are happy at home, they’re happy at work which equates to improved productivity.
The construction business is 6 days a week, with a huge percentage of the workforce working well into their Saturday afternoons. A typical employment agreement can see you work 8 hours a day for 5 days (Monday to Friday) which totals 40 hours but get paid 38 hours (7.6 hours per day). The other 2 hours accrue towards an RDO.
Logically the RDO is a day off for you to use as you see fit; family time, rest day, short getaway etc. So some of our clients are now guaranteeing staff will not be forced to work on their RDO. Sounds simple, but little details like this go along way for staff retention and attraction.
Complete employee benefits programs
Providing an Employee Benefits Program allows you to provide real value to your people, in the form of tangible savings, and for your business by meeting expectations for adding that ‘something more’.
A well-designed Employee Benefits Program can assist management to:
A great example of this is many of our construction clients are considering building their own internal gym and training studio in their next office fit-out.
Reduction in hours worked per week?
Perhaps the holy grail of construction. A reduction in hours worked per week is frequent feedback from our candidates, we hear candidates saying all the time saying they would prefer not to work 6 days a week. A reduction in hours would be ideal but given the nature of construction, this seems very unlikely particularly towards the end of a project where it's 7 days a week until its finished.
Could a firm somehow work out a project management structure to reduce the number of hours worked while still adhering to project budget, timeline and most importantly safety guidelines?
If so, they would be unique in their market and would have a compelling case for keeping and attracting the best construction talent.