Money Talks: Attracting and Retaining Top Performers Means Paying Top Dollar

Your firm’s total compensation needs to be competitive for your area—and not just with other construction companies.

Rikka Brandon, Founder & CEO

May 22, 2024

3 Min Read
Yellow safety helmet on top of hundred dollar bills
robert hyrons/Alamy Stock Photo

One of the hardest questions for companies to answer when it comes to HR is, “Am I paying enough to attract the best people?” 

And in the era of tough labor markets, it’s an important question to answer. Much of the industry’s workforce is aging out, and it’s been difficult to attract younger workers. Your salary and compensation packages need to be as attractive as your competitors—both inside and outside the construction industry—if you want top talent to choose your company. 

I’ve found that there is often a disconnect between what a company thinks is a strong compensation package and what the market demands for proven performers. Once you know the going market rates, you can decide to lower your expectations or raise your compensation. 

If your compensation is too low, you risk losing seasoned employees. If a team member leaves for a big bump in pay at a new job, they’ll almost certainly tell their friends from your company. You may start to see your turnover rise as well-paying competition snatches up more employees. 

How to Judge Your Compensation 

Here are a few signs your company’s compensation is off: 

  1. People either decline your offers, accept them but frequently don’t show up on the first day or start the job but leave quickly. 

  2. You haven’t reviewed and updated your pay scale in two or more years. 

  3. You are losing experienced people to competitors. 

  4. You include your compensation in job ads and get virtually no responses from qualified candidates. 

  5. Recruiters you seek help from tell you that your compensation is too low for the market or simply never call you back. 

If these are happening, you must evaluate your compensation and make adjustments to become competitive. Although compensation isn’t the only reason people change jobs, it is a major factor. If your organization doesn’t have a regularly scheduled compensation review process, consider the best way to implement one going forward.  

How to Compare Compensation 

There are several ways to compare your company’s salaries and compensation packages to competitors and other types of firms. For a larger scope, consider reviewing compensation guides published by associations, trade publications or other resources in the construction industry and your specific sector. These provide a fairly broad swath for many positions across the country. 

Here are a few other ways to gather information: 

  1. Call your local job service agency and ask about wage surveys or reports for the role. 

  2. Check out Salary.com. The site has basic, free employee reports, or you can purchase more robust reports designed specifically for employers. The free data is often nationally based. 

  3. Consult the U.S. Department of Labor website, which offers wage data by area and occupation. 

  4. Consult the Society of Human Resource Management for national and local wage and salary surveys. 

  5. Google “wage and salary survey” or “compensation ranges” for your area and your company niche. 

  6. Study similar job postings in your area; some will include compensation. 

In addition to checking similar jobs within your industry, be sure to research similar jobs in other industries to which your employees could easily transition.  

No matter which tools you use, always trust the market knowledge and your gut. If the compensation examples seem too high or low, they likely weren’t pulled from good data. 

About the Author(s)

Rikka Brandon

Founder & CEO, Building Gurus

Rikka Brandon is a nationally recognized building industry recruiting and hiring expert and best-selling author. She helps building industry business owners and leaders solve their recruiting and retention challenges with strategy, best practices and access to experts. Whether or not you're looking for in-house training and coaching for your team or an expert to provide consulting, you can learn more at www.BuildingGurus.com/Informa.  

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