To combat the labor shortage, some construction companies are offering signing bonuses to skilled trade workers—a perk once reserved for management, according to www.constructiondive.com.
Bonuses can range from a few hundred dollars to $1,500, but a supervisor with access to pools of available labor can earn a one-time payment of up to $3,000. However, aren't likely to be paid until the workers have been on the job for at least 60 days.
Although they can be viewed as an incentive, bonuses are not indicative of a base-pay increase. Also, some contractors fear the possibility of a costly bidding war and are concerned construction companies heading up large projects will be able to lure workers away with large signing bonuses.
According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, construction firms have increased pay. The average construction hourly wage is more than 10 percent higher than all other nonfarm industries, and a recent 3.5 percent increase to $29.63 per hour is starting to attract more experienced workers, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. During the past year, the number of people with construction experience looking for work increased by 38,000.
However, even high wage increases eventually will not attract workers if the available pool is limited. Some industry organizations say this problem only can be solved by attracting more women, minorities, and middle school and high school students.