How Grafter can help with workforce supply
Digital disruption in the construction industry is escalating rapidly, with new tech adoption changing fields such as BIM, advanced project management and even robotics. But one area which digitisation is transforming most notably, and with immediate effects, is in the construction workforce supply.
New technologies, such as the digital workforce solution, Grafter, are changing how construction firms find and hire their workers. The disruptive new hiring platform specifically targeted at the construction sector streamlines the process, making it more efficient than ever for everyone from labourers, to hiring managers and their companies, who are seeing the benefits on their bottom line.
Why the construction workforce needs digitisation.
There has been an opportunity for improvements and digitisation in the construction workforce supply for a while. Most recently, construction staffing has faced challenges from Brexit and the resulting reduction in migrant workers, coupled with an industry demand for key trades and skills outweighing what is available in the labour supply.
The combined effect of Brexit and Covid, with migrant workers leaving and unlikely to return to the UK, has made this challenge in the construction labour supply even more stark. In fact, according to the Office of National Statistics, the number of EU construction workers operating in the UK declined by 40% in Q3 of 2020, while a recent FIS labour survey showed that more than 80% of contractors in the finishes and interiors sector are expecting labour shortages in 2021.
This has led construction companies to rely even more heavily on expensive traditional staffing agencies or gangs and gang masters, running the risk that you are engaging with criminals.
Traditional staffing agencies often rely on a manual process, requiring people on phones in physical office spaces – which is not only expensive, but more difficult during Covid lockdown. This high cost is key – it means that agencies are expensive operations to run, and therefore pass the cost on to their clients, often charging up to 50% – that’s a significant amount added to your staffing cost base. There is also a complete lack of transparency in the process with agencies extracting high profits yet providing limited value.
You probably don’t need an explainer on why using gangs to find your workers is not ideal for business, but as a reminder, while labour gangs promise a quick supply of hard-working labour at a cheap price, the true cost to you and your workers can be huge. When you don’t know how the workforce supply is operating behind the scenes, you could be supporting organised crime, such as money laundering, tax evasion, and modern slavery.
Illegal operations like this have only been able to come into common existence because of the inefficiencies of traditional construction staffing agencies. Thankfully, there’s a way to solve these hiring problems the construction industry currency faces. The answer lies in adopting technology to fix these inefficiencies. It provides access to cost-effective labour whilst ensuring legal obligations can be met.
Why digitising the workforce is better for your bottom line and your labourers
Digital hiring services like Grafter keeps costs low for everyone on the supply chain. It’s able to do this by removing the expensive manual activity from the hiring process. Swapping physical offices full of employees for a more cost-effective digital solution means the company can cut out those manual costs and pass the saving straight on to its clients – so the saved cost can go straight on your bottom line.
Moving the process online also means that Grafter can utilise other user-friendly online services such online payment, worker validation and income management, in order to provide an enhanced solution for both those hiring and those providing the work.
Efficient hiring of builders and labourers
Not only does the platform offer a simple way to hire quality labourers, but digitising the process means that it is integrated with other services to provide an end-to-end solution that you can use from hiring to payment.
This integration extends to working with other job boards, too, for maximum coverage. So, even if there is a lack of the skills you are looking for in the market, Grafter can automatically ‘broaden the net’ to help find the right people, all managed through an easy-to-use dashboard.
The digital platform also means there is a consistent format of online CV for each worker for you to view, so it’s easy to compare workers and their skills and qualifications, as well as see their reviews and references from past employers.
The service is also creating a fantastic directory of workers. You can review workers after hiring them. This provides an extra incentive to do a great job and means you can trust who you are hiring, thanks to their previous reviews.
Digitisation can help with ‘Right to Work’ checks
Grafter ensures ID checks of all workers, so you can always trust that their information is correct. Workers can also include their Right to Work documents as part of their profile, so you can check these before you hire, and there’s no excuse in forgetting to bring them on site with them in person. It also provides a digital record of the check to provide you with comfort that you will not fall foul of the regulations. Similarly, on the platform, you can also view online images of their key licences and certifications such as CSCS. You can check these before they arrive to work, and not have to turn away workers as they fail to bring their card as they can be accessed on both the workers and hirers phones.
Simple digital payments
Grafter also provides an easy online payment solution, with all payment and CIS tax calculations completed by the system. It is integrated with HMRC and confirms the CIS tax rates for the workers, making sure it is clear upfront how much people will get paid and what tax will be collected from them.
With this digital solution, entering time worked each week is as simple as clicking a button, and the confirmed amount gets paid directly to the worker with just a small platform fee for using the platform based on the amount paid to the worker. This clear and transparent payment provides a better experience for workers. The platform doesn’t allow for payments below national minimum wage and has built-in anti-money laundering checks so ensues everything is legitimate.
Grafter also takes care of the ‘paperwork’ by providing correct, well formatted invoices and summary reports, which makes it easy to keep a track record of all work and payments for future HMRC submissions and other audits.
Benefits for builders, labourers and construction workers.
The Grafter platform will even offers a work benefits package, in partnership with Collective Benefits. This will include health and wellbeing, discounts and vouchers for workers on the Grafter platform – adding independence, increased job satisfaction and security to self-employed construction workers, normally only afforded to full time employees – all made possible by utilising the online service.
Digitisation improves the construction worker supply for everyone
Harnessing the power of online hiring through a platform like Grafter improves the process for construction workers, hiring managers and company profits alike. Going digital costs less for all involved, costing employers just 10% to use the platform, rather than a hidden mark-up of 30%-50% as is typical of traditional staffing agencies.
Having a succinct online platform also helps with ensuring quality work, by making qualifications, Right to Work documents, employer reviews and payments fully clear, transparent and easy to access on every side of the hiring process – and it protects construction workers from exploitation.
Overall, digitising your construction workforce supply provides a richer, comprehensive surface, all easily managed online. That also means you can access and manage on the go, from your desktop – or even from your phone. Though some tech advancements in the construction industry today are incredibly complex, digitising the workforce supply means hiring has never been so simple.
If you want to know more about digitising your workforce supply, head to grafternow.com