How to Recruit Skilled Trades in a Labor Shortage

America’s skilled trades labor shortage has made headlines all year. Our workforce is aging, and trades employers are feeling the effects. 53% of skilled trades workers are over 45, 18.6% are aged 55-64, and only one new worker enters the trades for every five who retire.

For the past decade, skilled trades workers- including electricians, mechanics, welders, and more- have topped the list of most in-demand employees. To address on-going trades hiring challenges, develop a passive candidate strategy that focuses on two things: Reaching today’s top candidates and building the future pipeline.

Reaching Skilled Trades Candidates Now

With the unemployment rate historically low at 3.6%, companies must reach those who aren’t looking for work. A passive candidate strategy does just that, utilizing multi-channel marketing to attract prospects who like your workplace’s benefits and culture.

As you build your passive candidate strategy and test marketing channels, consider including:

  • Partnerships with trade associations: They’re trusted by your ideal candidates and are working to combat the skilled trades shortage. A strong partnership could lead to inclusion in social media campaigns and other advertisements.
  • A military hiring strategy. Many Veterans already have the skills you need, no training required.
  • Hiring events on evenings and weekends where candidates can learn about the company, interview, and even begin onboarding. Your employed prospects may not take multiple days off of work to complete your hiring process.
  • Video, photo, and written content that communicates your employer value proposition.


What Makes You a Unique Employer?

Being in high demand, skilled trades workers have choices – they need to know what makes you unique. Develop your branding around your employer value proposition to attract passive candidates.

To discover your unique proposition, first, consider your benefits. Trades work is physical, so these workers often retire early and with different health conditions than an office emp

loyee. Great healthcare and retirement packages are key. Paid relocation, tuition reimbursement, and scheduled raises will also set you apart.

Workplace culture is the other major part of your employer value proposition. Do you treat trades employees as knowledge workers, including their input in decision-making? Sharing ideas and feeling like your voice is heard greatly increases job satisfaction. If this sounds like your philosophy, spread the word.

When your branding communicates your employer value proposition across multiple marketing channels, you reduce turnover by recruiting people who will be happy at your company.

Building the Future Candidate Pipeline

In the next 5 years, 68% of jobs open won’t have trained trades workers to fill them. Skilled trades hiring won’t get easier. Begin filling the pipeline by educating future generations on their employment options (ones that won’t put them in student debt). Reach students by partnering with local schools, recruiting at trades schools, and offering an apprenticeship program.

Nearly one-third of employers can’t fill roles due to a lack of applicants. Position yourself as a skilled trades employer who doesn’t have this problem: Implement a passive candidate strategy that reaches both current laborers and future generation.

Want to learn more about our recruiting solutions? Let’s talk.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you adapt to the evolving recruitment landscape and ramp up your efforts, please contact us today.

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