Material shortages and supply chain disruptions were likely major parts of your daily work throughout 2020 and 2021, but they were not the only industry issues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The existing labor shortage has been a chronic concern for several years, but due to COVID-19, pros saw the problem grow more acute, with over half of pros (56%) saying that COVID-19 has made hiring even harder.
The labor shortage is nothing new to roofers. Even before the widespread impact of COVID-19 on labor and materials markets over the last 18 months, there was a pronounced shortage of skilled labor for roofers.
In fact, only 10% of roofers don’t believe there is a labor shortage of skilled tradespeople.
This may not seem like an opportunity, but when considered in the context of the overall U.S. economy, the potential for the industry and your business becomes clear.
Only around one-third of the broader American workforce feels engaged with their work, leading to what many are calling “The Great Resignation.”
Meanwhile, 83% of skilled tradespeople are satisfied, with fewer than 1 in 20 people saying they’re unsatisfied in their current line of work.
So, how do you turn the Great Resignation into a great opportunity?
Change how you market the industry: The opportunity is in highlighting this unique job satisfaction and what drives it—meaning and value in work—as a benefit. This is currently a missed opportunity, with less than one in five pros highlighting highlight job satisfaction as part of their recruitment offering. In fact, it’s the second least provided incentive.
The Great Resignation could provide great opportunities for skilled tradespeople in America. American workers want to feel more connected to their jobs and their work, and they’re willing to quit and change career paths to find it. So, highlight job satisfaction and happiness, and make sure your company lives up to that satisfaction by being an awesome place to work.
Broaden your recruitment methods: Stop relying on word of mouth and start using a suite of digital tools to recruit. Word-of-mouth recommendations continue to drastically outweigh other recruiting methods; however, given the demographic shortages and the age of current tradespeople, it is no longer enough.
Positively, the share using online job postings has risen to 37% from 28% a year ago, but that is still only one-third of all tradespeople – and it needs to be higher.
Trades have an opportunity to utilize more modern and engaging recruitment tools, like online job postings. But what about incentives offered as part of the recruitment process? 39% are offering flexible work schedules and a fun work environment, 35% are offering above-average wages as a core incentive (consistent with what we saw earlier in this report regarding relative pay in the trades), and 33% are offering performance bonuses.
Expand who you are trying to recruit: A large portion of tradespeople are approaching retirement and those who are entering the trades to replace them are doing so later in life than previous generations, leading to shorter careers than previous generations.
These challenges are seen in more than half of tradespeople who say a lack of available workforce is stunting their growth, as well as the 68% who say that they could grow their business if they could find more available workers.
A labor shortage combined with an aging workforce means the training pipeline for skilled tradespeople is falling short of what’s required to meet demand in the field. While some businesses manage to reach adequate staffing levels, at least one-third are still understaffed, which is resulting in unmet demand, not enough time off, and lost revenue.
However, roofing is 97% male, so there is a big opportunity to expand the labor force by recruiting 50% of the population (women) who are almost entirely absent from the field.
The roofing company that successfully improves in these three areas will have a long-term edge over competitors.