Attracting, retaining skilled workforce is key challenge in construction industry

  • Valerie Grube

    Valerie Grube

Posted3/14/2019 1:00 AM

Results of MRA's most recent Logistics and Construction Compensation Survey show the logistics and construction industry has also been hit hard by nationwide labor shortages. This is the first industry-specific survey completed by MRA -- The Management Association for logistics and construction companies. The survey was initiated to provide compensation insights for construction and logistics jobs to assist organizations with their compensation strategy, as well as help companies attract and retain high-quality employees.

"Compensation data from industry-specific surveys such as this enable companies to better understand what is taking place in their specific marketplace and to be competitive," said Susan Fronk, MRA president and CEO. "Not only do our members benefit from this critical information, but the industry as a whole can make improvements to win the talent they need."



Key survey findings include information on project bonuses, challenges to find skilled labor, and compensation data. Nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) pay a project bonus. This type of bonus is most commonly paid as a flat amount at the end of the year. The key performance indicators (KPIs) on which the bonus is based vary by job and by company. The most common reason for a project bonus payout is reaching or exceeding company goals. That was cited by 73 percent of responding organizations.

Recruitment and Retention

Recruitment and retention pose challenges for almost all companies and the logistics and construction industries are no different. Skilled trade workers are especially difficult to recruit, with 79 percent of organizations responding that recruitment is very to somewhat difficult for these jobs. Seventy-two percent of respondents indicated that it is very to somewhat difficult to recruit for management jobs, 66 percent indicated difficulty in finding project managers, and 61 percent mentioned finding engineers.

Regarding retention of current employees, the difficulty seems to be most pronounced in the unskilled trades group. Over half (53 percent) of respondents indicate that this category of worker is very to somewhat difficult to retain. Drivers are close behind, with 45 percent of respondents rating retention as somewhat to very difficult. Although management roles, project managers and engineers are difficult to recruit, respondents noted that individuals in those roles are easier to retain than other groups.

The MRA Survey also reported on base pay and total compensation for more than 50 different positions in the construction and logistics industry. The jobs unique to the logistics and construction industries ranged from entry level positions to management and from office to job site positions.

While the construction industry is still going strong, competition for jobs and talent is a critical concern. Compensation data found in surveys, such as the one offered by MRA, can help companies stay ahead of the game and be competitive when hiring needed talent.

• Valerie Grube is the Manager of Recruiting and Retention Services at MRA -- The Management Association. Visit or follow MRA on LinkedIn:, Facebook:, or Twitter: @MRA_HR_Pros.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.