Business AdvisoryTrades and Construction

Attracting Tradies to Your Business During a Worker Shortage

Jeff Broughton Jeffrey Broughton
25 November 2021
5 min read

25 November 2021

Many trade businesses fall into the trap of thinking that better wages are the only way to attract good employees to their business. However, people do not just work for money anymore, they want a purpose. And tradies are more likely to choose to work for your trade or construction business if your business reputation as an employer (your employer brand) and your culture are positive.

A business’ reputation as an employer matters. Research shows that:

  • 75% of job seekers research a business’ reputation before applying[1].

  • 69% of candidates would not accept a job offer from a business with a bad reputation, even if unemployed[2].

[Related: Check out our e-book The Ultimate Guide to attracting and retaining tradies]

Creating an employer brand and culture tradies want to work for

Culture is not created over-night and takes time (often years) to develop and nurture. But you can start by defining the mission, vision and values of your business. Having a clear mission, vision, and values helps you stand out and build your business’ reputation to potential employees.

  • What is your purpose for being?

  • What do you want to become?

  • What is important to you in the process of doing that (your core values)?

Download the Values Workshop Guide for examples and templates to help you get started!

Once you’ve created the story of your business, share it! Build a website for your business and research which social media channels are most effective in your industry. Use your website as a platform to publish stories about your clients and employees and share them through the social media channels you have identified. Having a clear, secure, and approachable website helps improve your business’ reputation to potential employees and customers.

Tips for attracting tradies who will help your company grow

There are plenty of examples of organisations that have adopted innovative employment strategies.

Locally, Perpetual Guardian implemented the four-day work week, Google allows staff to spend 20 percent of their time on whatever projects they want, and Netflix has unlimited leave.

Research what others have done, pick the parts you want to implement and trial initiatives. Not all will work, so test, review and refine until you find what does. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Pay well, but don’t get caught in a wage war

Your number one priority is to look after your own people. How would your employees feel if they found out (and they will) that a new hire is on a wage rate better than them? Hire great people and pay them well!

2. Build a well-being benefits package

In today’s competitive hiring market, it is more important than ever to offer a generous benefits package. Employee benefits have been shown to boost both recruitment and retention efforts, while also maintaining greater satisfaction among established workers. Studies have shown that a $1 investment in staff well-being returns 5x in financial returns through a reduction in absenteeism and improved productivity[3].

Here are some ideas:

  • Flexible working conditions e.g. four-day week or nine-day fortnight.

  • Remote working opportunities e.g. work from home/anywhere.

  • Health perks such as healthy food and gym memberships.

  • Additional leave for birthdays or long weekends.

  • Tailored training budgets that empower staff to build their capabilities.

3. Create recruitment incentives for staff

Your staff are your eyes and ears on the ground and often have strong networks of talent from your competitors. Offer them enough of a financial incentive and they will be better than any recruiter. What better way to spread your business’ reputation than through the mouths of happy employees?

4. Build from within

Commit to a strategy of building talent from within and showing clear career pathways for your employees.

5. Seek out new advertising channels

Research and leverage advertising channels that could help you reach your audience. Are there particular social media platforms that are more popular in your industry? Or certain radio stations that your people listen to?

6. Cast your net wider

Seek out talent where others aren’t looking. What are other industries with a transferable skill set that you could target?

7. Outsource

Yes, you give away margin, but it can help you to increase your volume and / or get through your backlog. Importantly, you keep your customers happy and take pressure off your employees.

8. Technology and innovation

Technology and innovation are a key driver of productivity. This is crucial in a tight labour market as technology saves time, improves performance and importantly allows your staff to complete higher value and productive work. Being ahead of the curve in trends and best practices also helps you stand out to potential employees - attracting innovative workers and building your business reputation.

The Ultimate Guide to attracting and retaining tradies

Culture and employee brand are one component of HR practice that underpin successful trade businesses. To help your business attract and retain employees, we’ve created The Ultimate Guide to attracting and retaining tradies.

This playbook will teach you how you can invest the time and effort to create an environment that will help enable your people to be aligned around a common purpose and vision so your hard work pays off in spades.


[1] _The Ultimate List of Employer Brand Statistics for Hiring Managers, HR Professionals, and Recruiters,_LinkedIn

[2] 2018 Reputation Management Study, MRINetwork

[3] Wellbeing and productivity at work, New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, March 2021

Jeff Broughton
Author: Jeffrey Broughton | Associate Partner