Mechanical and electrical workers are an essential part of your construction workforce. It’s crucial for our clients to source the right mechanical and electrical workers to make sure their project is successful.
But mechanical and electrical workers are often highly skilled and in high demand – a combination no contractor enjoys.
At P.I.E.R, we specialise in providing mechanical and electrical workers for our clients across South Wales, the South, and the UK in general. We understand your frustration at not being able to recruit the right mechanical and electrical workers for your project. In this article, we’ll pinpoint why those workers are so hard to find, and how you can try and source reliable mechanical and electrical workers for your project.
The biggest problems with mechanical and electrical recruitment
Mechanical and electrical workers are key trades and so are highly skilled and regulated. As you would expect, this means training can’t be completed overnight.
For example, mechanical and electrical engineers will have studied at university before graduating and joining the workforce. Electricians will also be regulated much more intensely than some construction workers (such as general labourers) and as such, will be in higher demand.
Why are mechanical and electrical workers so important in construction right now?
Several factors have contributed to a recruitment shortage, not least the impact of BREXIT and the COVID pandemic. Both have exacerbated a shortage of skilled workers in the UK: BREXIT has meant many skilled workers have left the country, and COVID meant many construction workers were forced to leave the industry in favour of more stable income.
Why is it hard to recruit mechanical and electrical workers?
Post COVID, demand for mechanical and electrical workers has shot up, and the demand now far outweighs the availability of workers.
There’s a shortage of skilled construction workers in the UK, and sadly, there aren’t enough younger people choosing to train for those roles.
With the balance tipped in favour of workers, workers can now choose jobs that offer the best pay, are local, and suit their exact skill set and experience.
Why is it hard to retain mechanical and electrical workers?
Unfortunately, even once you’ve managed to recruit mechanical and electrical workers, it doesn’t mean they’ll be loyal. If a worker is offered better pay on a site that’s closer to home, they’ll accept the new position. Loyalty in construction is difficult to form, and unless you maintain a good working relationship, offer competitive wages, and provide a good working environment, your workers are likely to find somewhere better.
Why does recruiting poorly affect your bottom line?
A poor recruitment process will lead to a high staff turnover, and ultimately, that will simply mean you’ll lose time and money. While it may seem easier to recruit quickly and with minimal fuss, in the long run, it’s much better for your business if you take the time to understand exactly what workers you need, what the market rate is for their skills, and how you can encourage them to stay with your company.
Using low-paid and under-qualified workers will not work
Opting to lower standards and recruit mechanical and electrical workers that are under-qualified will not be of benefit in the long run. In fact, the issues you’ll create by engaging the wrong workers will take far longer to resolve than if you recruit the right workers from the beginning.
Low paid mechanical and electrical workers will result in a far less reliable workforce
If you engage workers that don’t have the skills or experience you need, you may pay them less, but you’ll also see them for a lot less time. Your workers will quickly realise that they’re not the right person for the job, and won’t waste time before they look for something more suitable.
Hiring under-qualified workers will hurt your business
Ultimately, it’s your business that will be damaged by recruiting under qualified mechanical and electrical construction workers. The time wasted on the wrong workers will increase your time scales, potentially meaning you’ll be hit with late fines.
The biggest problem will be the damage to your reputation. Word spreads quickly in our industry, and engaging the wrong workers for a project will be a major red flag for both workers and partners.
How to find the right mechanical and electrical workers yourself
To ensure you find the right workers, you need to plan ahead, understand your project, and be aware of the current recruitment market so that you know what workers expect.
Understanding the needs of your workers is key.
It’s obvious that the rate of pay is going to be one of the first things any prospective workers will want to know. As well as knowing the going rate within the mechanical and electrical sector, you need to be prepared to offer training when appropriate, provide support regarding any legislation that impacts your workers, and have the ability to provide new workers with regular work.
Understanding your needs
Of course, it’s just as important to know your own project needs, as well as those of your workers. With a clear project plan and timeline, you should know which mechanical and electrical workers you’ll need at which stage of the project, making it easier to plan ahead. ‘Strong electrical project management skills are essential to reducing estimating mistakes and creating repeat relationships with your clients’.
Finding potential candidates
You can find potential candidates through job sites like Indeed, as these are often a go-to place for construction workers looking for a new project. Total Jobs and CV Library are another two job boards it’s worth utilising. Of course, you should also reach out to your network and those you have previously worked with. You never know who may be out of work and looking for a new challenge.
Pre-Screening Potential Candidates
If you choose to engage workers you’ve never met before, pre-screening questions are essential. It’s a lot easier to lie or ‘exaggerate’ on a CV than it is in person, and making sure all workers have the relevant paperwork and qualifications is key.
Making sure that you are compliant
You are responsible for your company’s compliance procedures, and the government can come down hard on those who aren’t following the correct procedures. Make sure you understand your compliance responsibilities, and act on them accordingly.
Tax compliance is a hot topic in construction at the moment, and in our previous article we’ve covered why it’s so important to know if your workforce is tax compliant.
When might you need help for mechanical and electrical recruitment?
If you’re determined to find the right mechanical and electrical workforce, it’s worth looking into using a recruitment agency. Trusting construction recruitment experts (who already have workers on their books), will make your life an awful lot easier – and can save you time and money.
There’s so much you need to get right
The chances are, your project needs will change at the last minute. Work will be delayed, something will go wrong, or you’ll need more time. Even with the best will in the world, there’s only so much you can get right from the beginning. A recruitment agency will be there at every stage of the process – and when you need them most.
Recruitment agencies aren’t all bad!
Reputation is everything and we are well aware that not all recruitment agencies are worth their salt. But we’re equally certain that not all recruitment agencies are bad! Find the right agency and you’ll find your working life gets easier by the day.
Finding the right recruitment agency
To find the right construction recruitment agency, you have to do your research. Find out who other contractors use in your area, ask them for genuine opinions, and don’t be scared to reach out to agencies directly. A quick call will often tell you all you need to know about a business, and it’s much quicker than waiting for replies to emails.
Questions to ask when looking for a recruitment partner
There are a few quick fire questions that are a good starting point for any conversation, and here are our top suggestions:
- How many mechanical and electrical workers do you have on your books?
- What areas do you cover?
- What are your compliance procedures?
- Who will be my main contact?
Early engagement is key
The sooner you get in contact with a recruitment agency, the better. Involving a construction recruitment agency early on in your project timeline will give them the best chance of finding you the mechanical and electrical workers you need. You’ll have support from day one, and certain agencies, like P.I.E.R, can help you spot any gaps in your own workforce, and even offer upskill training if required.
Let us help you find a reliable mechanical and electrical workforce
At P.I.E.R we pride ourselves on being ‘one of the good guys’. We do our best for every single client, and our testimonials speak for themselves. If you need help sourcing reliable mechanical and electrical construction workers, get in touch today.
If you need help sourcing reliable mechanical and electrical construction workers, get in touch today.