In the skilled trades industry, finding—and keeping—qualified workers has become a battleground for businesses, especially since the pandemic. The Great Resignation spurred a mass exodus of workers across various industries. And many baby boomers exited the workforce altogether. 
Compounding the employment problem is a thriving construction industry. During COVID, households across the nation underwent renovations as people working from home realized the limitations of their living spaces. Additionally, domestic migration prompted new developments in areas that saw an upswing in population as homebuilders worked to keep up with the demand.

With an abundance of work, an aging skilled trade workforce, and a shortage of new workers filling the skilled trade talent pool, staffing difficulties are preventing businesses from bidding on contracts. 

Many businesses leverage Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) to improve their value to prospective and existing employees. By helping structure competitive compensation and benefits packages, and providing state-of-the-art HR technology to you and your employees, PEOs can help you attract new talent and reduce employee turnover.

Wages, Benefits Drive Decisions for Skilled Workers

Pay and perks continue to be top drivers for job seekers, especially in an inflationary economy. Today’s workers feel they are underpaid—and they expect an 8% to 10% bump in wages this year. Since annual raises traditionally cap at 3%, skilled trade workers may walk if they don’t get the pay raise they expect. Partnering with a PEO can help ensure your pay structure is competitive within your local market.

Comprehensive, affordable benefits are just as important as pay. Though they don’t provide disposable income, they can ease financial strain through insurance coverage and employee assistance programs (EAPs), giving workers greater spending power. Additionally, paid time off and retirement plans show workers their employers are invested in their well-being.

But only 58% of employees are satisfied with how affordable their employer-provided benefits are. To keep employees from seeking new work, a PEO can help businesses elevate compensation and benefits packages by customizing them to the organization’s specific needs and market demands. With competitive pay and benefits, your business stands apart from competitors and establishes a strong value proposition for skilled trade workers.

Payroll Pain Points Could Negatively Affect Employees

Processing payroll accurately and on time is essential for employee satisfaction. All employees rely on timely, accurate payment of wages, but the complexity of skilled trade work can often leave payroll staff struggling to hit deadlines. 

For construction workers specifically, payroll headaches abound. Minimal integration of project management technology creates time-consuming manual processes when it comes to employee schedules and completed work, which can hinder the ability of payroll teams. Furthermore, construction jobs usually span multiple locations, each with their own local, state, and federal guidelines. This extra layer of complexity can overload payroll staff and increase the risk of costly errors and delays.

PEOs tap payroll experts and advanced systems to streamline payroll processes, reduce a business’ overhead, and free up staff resources. When PEOs process payroll, they pay workers accurately and on time, manage deductions correctly, and meet all required tax obligations, thereby minimizing the risk of compliance issues and potential legal consequences.

Skilled Trades Workers Require Specialized HR Support

Skilled trades are one of the most highly regulated industries, often requiring specific training and certification to bid on projects and perform work. Often, these demands shift from job to job, making it difficult for some businesses to land contracts.

Not to mention the hazards of skilled trade work, which, unfortunately, may result in an on-the-job injury. When employees suffer work-related injuries, employers must follow a specific protocol to file and manage workers’ compensation claims. There were more than 2.6 million nonfatal work injuries reported in the U.S. in 2021. Sadly, it’s not a matter of whether a workplace injury will occur, but when.

Performing these specific HR functions can burden teams, but PEOs help by delivering the specialized knowledge required to tailor training programs and maintain compliance with labor laws. And when work-related injuries occur, PEOs can handle workers’ comp claims, navigate insurance requirements, and ensure injured workers have access to prompt medical attention and income replacement if necessary.


Businesses must proactively tap creative strategies to attract qualified talent in today’s skilled labor workforce. Working with a PEO offers a competitive edge by creating a workplace that respects and supports employee efforts. For more than 20 years, SWBC PEO has been a trusted PEO for business owners and their employees in various skilled trades. Visit our website to see how we help them increase profitability, lower labor costs, and reduce employment-related liability.