[Infographic] 7 Ways Pros Can Promote Careers in Construction
It’s no secret that the construction industry is facing a labor shortage. In fact, the industry will need to attract nearly 650,000 more workers than normal in 2022 to meet labor demands, according to a model developed by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Plus, the number of construction workers ages 25-54 years old has declined 8% over the past 10 years, while the number of older workers leaving the workforce has soared, according to ABC.
This shortage directly impacts the day-to-day work of pros. Nearly 90% of the Associated General Contractors of America’s (AGC) member firms have a hard time finding workers to hire. And 61% of them have delayed project schedules because of workforce shortages.
To ensure the success of your projects today and to safeguard the future of the construction trades, it’s time for commercial plumbing professionals like mechanical contractors to be advocates for careers in construction.
Promoting skilled trade careers:
- Increases public awareness of the importance of commercial plumbing in new construction.
- Improves the perception of skilled trade careers, which are often seen as second tier to jobs that require college degrees.
- Garners interest in those who may want to start building a career right after high school and avoid student debt.
This infographic outlines seven ways you can help raise awareness of careers in construction. Share it on social media using #CareersInConstruction to spread the word. Keep reading past the graphic for a more detailed breakdown.
1. Let students shadow you on the job
Mechanical contractors who work on the job site can give students and those interested in transitioning to a commercial plumbing career a glimpse into your world through job shadowing.
First, you’ll want to reach out to high schools or trade schools in your area to connect with the right students. Then, consider offering one or more of the following:
- A walk-through of a job site with a small group.
- Work more closely with construction planning? Have students shadow you for a day.
- Demo installations and explain how it fits into the larger project timeline.
- Host a virtual or in-person Lunch and Learn with local schools in between projects.
2. Offer and promote your apprenticeships
There’s been a 70% growth in new apprentices since 2011, according to the Department of Labor, with the plumbing trade being one of the top five jobs with active apprentices. If you own a plumbing company that isn’t yet offering an apprenticeship, there are several reasons to consider starting a program.
Apprenticeships allow you to:
- Train new talent with the right skills.
- Create a pipeline of talent to recruit and develop a reliable workforce.
- Improve productivity and profitability.
To promote your apprenticeship, consider:
- Attending job fairs. Several trade associations offer these opportunities to connect you with the incoming workforce, including the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) and the Construction Ready CareerEXPO in the South. You may also want to check your local industry association chapter and trade schools for career fair opportunities in your area.
- Posting to job boards. While you can post apprenticeship openings on major job posting sites like Indeed, Zip Recruiter, CareerBuilder and LinkedIn, it may help to target prospective apprentices more directly through other organizations. Check local schools in your region to see if they have job boards you can post to, or head to industry-specific sites to put opportunities in front of relevant audiences. Some popular options include:
3. Partner with industry associations
There’s power in numbers, so consider teaming up with industry associations that are already doing the hard work to advocate for skilled trade careers. Through these organizations, you can find many ways to promote the industry and grow your own career.
- Take advantage of career tools. Expand your talent pool and lower hiring costs by getting directly in front of prospective workers. Promote your organization and job openings by posting them to skilled trade job boards such as:
- Be a resource. Register your training program or organization with industry associations to open doors for mentorship, apprenticeships and more. For example, you can apply to get on the National Center for Construction Education and Research’s (NCCER) connection map, which can provide opportunities for you to support trade education in your area. You can also sign up to be a mentor to help new tradespeople develop their careers and grow their leadership skills. Some opportunities include MCAA’s WiMI mentor program for women and the ASPE Connect Mentor Match program.
- Promote diversity and inclusion. Only 1 in 10 construction workers is a woman, and only about 2% of plumbers are women. This is a key disparity across many skilled trades, but there are ways you can do your part to foster a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
- Attend MCAA Women in the Mechanical Industry (WiMI) Conference to learn how to be a better ally and to meet others who are helping women succeed in a male-dominated field.
- Connect with organizations like NAWIC or Tools and Tiaras to see how you can help support their work and empower women in the trades. These are also great organizations to partner with to recruit tradeswomen for your firm or company.
- Seek out women-focused career centers in your area to see if there are any local needs you can support or talent you can hire.
- Attend industry events. Be a known name in your community and trade. Join your trade organization’s local chapter — or start one in your area. You can also seek out conferences and annual meetings hosted by national organizations, such as the AGC’s National Construction Industry Workforce Summit.
4. Be active on social media
Stories and authentic conversations hold incredible power — so share your thoughts and journey with others on social media and engage your online community to raise awareness of the skilled trades. Through social media, you can amplify success stories and facts about your industry.
Post about your work. Shoot a video showing part of your day-to-day duties. Show off your installations and post about your wins. Cross-promote your training, apprenticeship or job opportunities. Get creative with it!
Participate in national advocacy campaigns. Whether it’s Careers in Construction Month, World Plumbing Day, or Women in Construction Week, be a part of online conversations about your trade by following and using the hashtags for holidays and observances, such as #CareersInConstruction, #WorldPlumbingDay and #WomeninConstructionWeek. You can often find toolkits and free resources for posting on social from organizations like National Associations of Home Builders (NAHB), Build Your Future (BYF) and The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).
5. Request that your state proclaim October as Careers in Construction Month
If your state doesn’t recognize October as Careers in Construction month already, you can file a proclamation to your governor to do so. You can check which states need a filed proclamation here, and if yours is one of them, find your state’s electronic proclamation request form to get the processes started. An official proclamation is one more step toward generating more awareness at the state level about the opportunities in construction.
6. Take a pledge
Talk the talk then walk the walk by making a commitment to spreading the word about construction careers. If you own a plumbing business, consider signing the Build Your Future pledge. By doing so, you’ll join a long list of pledged organizations that have committed to participating in at least one classroom engagement. You’ll also be entered into a drawing for a $5,000 scholarship that you can give to the secondary craft training program of your choice.
7. Share your career story
Partner with manufacturers like RWC that are sharing the stories of tradespeople working in new construction. Industry organizations like BYF are putting a similar spotlight on real career stories. Consider sharing your perspective with relevant organizations to provide insight into the industry and inspire the next generation of pros.