The Other Construction Supply Shortage (and how to address it).

Construction recruitment is white hot right now and there’s not enough people to go around. With the current state of Australian State & National border closures, this applicant shortage has been overlooked and it’s only going to get worse until we re-open.

Here’s our expert advice on how to hire construction talent in an applicant-short market.

Don’t blink or you’ll miss them

If you have an applicant float across your desk, DO NOT WAIT. If they’re even relatively close to being a fit for your business, get them on the phone. Waiting even a few days to reach out to an applicant can mean you miss the opportunity altogether. People are finding work within DAYS in this market so our best advice is – don’t snooze, or you’ll lose.

Be realistic about salaries

You can’t be stingy in this market. Unlike other times, the applicant is in total charge of the salary they can command. Pay the industry average if you have the ability to. Don’t squibble over a couple thousand dollars if it means you miss out on a good employee. Sometimes you just have to pay what people command to be ready to deliver for your client. Here’s a link to our Conecta Quarter 2 2021/22 Salary Guide for the roles we hire on Conecta so you can better prepare yourself for salary negotiations.

Tap into old contacts

Go back through people you were previously interested in for past roles. Consider anyone you’ve spoken to in the past: are they a good fit? Get in touch with them and see where they’re at. Do they like what they’re currently doing? Are they considering moving jobs? Will they get in touch with you when they are?

They may be ready for a change or even actively looking for their next opportunity. And if you don’t keep your old contacts in a talent pool list, start that practice today. Your list is worth its weight in gold. This is the centre piece of any good recruiter’s candidate strategy and why you end up paying them their fee. They keep in touch with people and stay on top of who’s looking, ready to snap them up when the time is right. Keep track of your own contacts now.

Promote from within

Something to consider is promoting the talent you already have. For example, moving a Graduate or PC with 2-3 years experience into a CA role to fast track their development. You already know they’re very capable otherwise they wouldn’t still be in your business, right? Why not give them an opportunity even if they aren’t completely ready? Use your management team’s know-how and skill-set to shape your employees into the company you want for your future.

Promoting from within is also a way to retain good people in your business. Win/win for both them and you.

Consider people outside the box

The market is white hot right now, so consider thinking outside the usual box. People with less experience whom you can train up, just like you would an internal staff member, may be the solution to your problem.

Instead of a minimum 3 years experience, you could consider 1-2 years. Back in the systems you have set up and take a chance on someone who may not have the work experience but has the hunger and willingness to learn. Trust in your leadership team and their ability to mentor and share their knowledge. This is an excellent way to snap up talent that would otherwise be overlooked.

Maybe there are also other things in your PD such as software that can be taught as they go? This may add a little time ‘til someone is able to work unsupervised, however you have an end in sight with this.

Not having someone at all means there’s no solution in sight and an added stress you just don’t need in an industry that already pushes everyone to their limit.

Treat talent acquisition like project forecasting & pipelines

Project forecasting is part of your daily business planning and yet there’s not a lot of talent forecasting done to support it. This is the number one issue we see facing construction companies time and again. You win a project and then start looking for people to build it. WRONG.

Talent pooling and people management is key to winning in a talent-short construction recruitment market.

Plan ahead – just like you plan your bids & project pipeline, plan your teams, too. Start building out your talent pool in the likelihood you win the job. Get your talent pipeline in line with your bid pipeline and be ready to hit the ground running when you’re ready to hire.


There’s really only one question to ask yourself now and that is, what do you want your construction recruitment process to look like in 3 years? Do you still want to be paying $100s of thousands in recruitment fees or do you want to build your talent funnel and have quality applicants reaching out directly to join your business? If it’s the latter, there’s no time like the present to start building it.

Hey, if you want to chat further about this and see if we could help you build your process faster, reach out to Matt on 0408 683 308.

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