Zoe Morris, president of ERP recruitment company, Washington Frank, discusses how the digital revolution has transformed the way construction companies approach employment around the globe
Companies in every sector, from manufacturing to healthcare, have seen the benefit that implementing technology can bring. However, construction has definitely been slower to buy into it.
As a staffing firm that recruits for technology professionals, construction has always appeared to us to be an industry that has resisted moving away from its traditional roots. This certainly seems to have developed in recent years, and the slow clamour for skilled STEM workers has changed from a trickle into a flow. It won’t be long until this turns into something more urgent.
Unfortunately, the demand for qualified tech professionals is already reaching crisis point. Frost & Sullivan have predicted a global shortage of 1.5 million IT workers by 2020, meaning more and more construction companies across different industries are trying to be creative with the way they fill this gap. Construction will also have to find its own solution to this puzzle, and now is the time to be acting on it.
ERP software, in particular, is seeing a big rise within the industry. It can be a very useful tool for estimating, and throughout the construction process it helps to ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget. When technology is providing businesses with more accurate work and a more cost-effective operation, it’s little wonder that they are being won over by the digital age.
Although recruiting technology workers may be new territory, it needn’t be intimidating. In fact, looking at the working trends of those professionals and adapting your processes to accommodate them will already give you the jump on those around you. For instance, each year we carry out market research to find out the latest hiring trends on a number of different platforms.
Across almost every technology we recruit for, people list working from home as one of their top benefits. As flexible working isn’t as common a practice within construction companies, you may be able to get a head start on your competitors by weighing up just how much time away from the office you can offer. One day per week is the most common response, but allowing your workers the flexibility to spend more time away from their desk may make you an even more attractive option.
Recent research tells us that 48.5% of construction companies in the industry now have their own dedicated IT department, with a 40% increase in the size of those teams in 2018, so it’s clear that digital adoption is on the rise and that requires an increase in staff. Businesses will be recruiting for several different positions across different technologies to fill these positions.
While a staffing firm such as ourselves will have a more in-depth knowledge of the landscape, spending some time researching it yourself coupled with creative thinking will still provide you with great results. For example, one criticism of the technology industry is that it suffers from poor gender representation, as it’s mainly dominated by males, both at a senior and junior level. At a time when attracting staff is already a challenge, looking at addressing this will potentially give you access to an overlooked talent pool.
The quit rate for women in technology is also twice as high as with men, so it’s worth ensuring that your company culture is going to provide a suitable working environment if you want to make sure your hires are with you in the long term. This means having mentorship programs, so new members of staff have the appropriate support, as well as women throughout the business in leadership positions so that workers have a level to aspire to as well as a reason to stay and develop themselves.
Of course, this all begins with making sure you get a broad range of applications right from the beginning of the process. Making an effort to keep gender neutral wording on your job ads will help, as will promoting the benefits you have on offer. For some women, childcare will be a big consideration in any career decision, so promoting any flexible working options will help draw more applicants.
Your business is adapting as it implements new processes and enjoys the benefits of digital working. Making sure you can be flexible to accommodate those working within the field is all you need to make your company a more appealing option in the fight to get the best professionals through your door and working for you.
There are many ways you can get ahead when you’re looking to recruit IT workers for your organisation. You don’t need to know the technology itself, just how to form an effective recruitment strategy to attract the best talent to your organisation, as well as being bold in order to appeal to them.