PCA Articles

Woman with brush painting.

The Great Resignation Presents Great Opportunity for Your Painting Business

If your business was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. Shortages of materials and labor were felt throughout the skilled trades and supply chain disruptions became part of daily work life throughout 2020 and 2021.

Outside of the challenges surrounding materials and products, painting businesses have noticed their talent pipelines drying up. Over 60% of painters say COVID-19 made hiring harder, with less than one in ten saying it got easier over the past year.

The labor shortage has been a chronic issue in the industry, so it’s no surprise that only 15% of painters do not see it as an issue. But enough about the challenges you face every day. Let’s look at how to overcome them.

To do this, we need to take a step out of the skilled trades and look at the broader U.S. economy to uncover the potential opportunities for painting businesses to attract new talent.

You may have heard the term “The Great Resignation” tossed around. This refers to the lack of engagement in the broader American workforce. Only around one-third of workers feel engaged with their work, leading to mass resignations.

Meanwhile, less than 1 in 20 skilled tradespeople say they’re unsatisfied in their current line of work. In fact, 83% of skilled tradespeople are satisfied with their work. So, why is it so hard to attract talent?

Who You Recruit

A large percentage of tradespeople are approaching retirement and those who are entering the trades to replace them are doing so later in life than previous generations, leading to shorter careers than previous generations. This shift in the skilled trades workforce is not going to make the labor shortage any easier to overcome.

In fact, more than half of tradespeople say a lack of available workforce is stunting their growth and even more, 68%, say they could grow their business if they could find more available workers.

A labor shortage combined with an aging workforce means the training pipeline for skilled tradespeople is falling short of what’s required to meet demand in the field. While some businesses manage to reach adequate staffing levels, at least one-third are still understaffed, which is resulting in unmet demand, not enough time off, and lost revenue.

However, while the general population is half female, the percentage of female painters is only about 10%. There is an opportunity to recruit more women to the field, dramatically expanding the painting labor pool.

How You Recruit

In addition to diversifying the workforce, painters also need to diversify their recruiting methods. While skilled tradespeople are starting to use more digital tools to recruit new talent, the share using online job postings has only risen to 37% (from 28% in 2020). In other words, only one-third of tradespeople are posting job openings online.

Word-of-mouth recommendations are drastically overused relative to other recruiting methods across the trades, but they’re clearly no longer enough. It’s time to modernize your recruiting methods by boosting your online presence and using digital tools to recruit.

In addition to posting jobs online, it’s important to offer incentives that match the needs of the current workforce, like financial security, flexible schedules and a fun environment: only 39% of trades businesses are offering flexible work schedules and a fun work environment, and even fewer, between 33% and 35%, are offering performance bonuses and above-average wages, respectively. Consider what you could offer – and where you’re offering it – to appeal more to today’s talent.

What You Offer

Job satisfaction is incredibly high among skilled tradespeople, and yet, only 9% of painters are highlighting that benefit as a recruitment incentive. Take the opportunity to highlight the benefits people are willing to quit their current jobs to find. Combined with other more immediate economic incentives, you can make a powerful offer.

The Great Resignation is driven by people feeling disengaged by their jobs and feeling a lack of meaning in their work. Painting and other trades can give them what they need – high job satisfaction driven primarily by meaning and value in the work – with the regular incentives of higher-than-average compensation, room for growth and entrepreneurship, and flexibility in scheduling.

Start by highlighting job satisfaction rates of nearly 80% in painting and follow through by offering a great work environment that lives up to that promise.

The painting company that successfully diversifies their workforce, modernizes their recruiting methods and offers appealing incentives will have a long-term advantage over competitors.

Angi helps painting contractors connect with local homeowners looking to for quality professionals. PCA pros receive exclusive discounts when they sign-up with Angi. View homeowner demand in your area to get started.

About The Author

Mischa Fisher

Mischa Fisher is the Chief Economist for ANGI Homeservices, HomeAdvisor, and Angie’s List.

Prior to joining ANGI, Mr. Fisher was Chief Economist and economic policy advisor to the Governor of Illinois, where he oversaw the state agencies responsible for employment security, economic development, housing, and professional licensing. He was previously a Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce, and a Legislative Director for the United States Congress in Washington D.C.

Mr. Fisher is passionate about marketplace platforms, job mobility, and residential investment. He completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics in British Columbia, Canada, and is an instructor in applied quantitative analysis and statistics at Northwestern University.

Additional Resources

A Solution to The Recruitment Crisis