Workforce productivity levels have reached an unprecedented high in the construction industry, and, surprisingly, contractors have the last decade’s economic recession to thank.

Before the recession hit, most construction workforces were comprised of 30% A-level craftsmen, 40% B-level craftsmen, and 30% C-level craftsmen. When the economy took a turn for the worst, however, many contractors were forced to let go of the lower end of their B-level and all of their C-level employees—employees who were the least productive, least safe and most profit-draining.

Left with only their A-level and the best of their B-level employees—the safest, most skilled and most productive workers—contractors were able to complete more projects more efficiently, and with higher quality results. Far from hurting contractors’ ability to stay on-schedule and on-budget, reducing the workforce to a core team of high-performing employees actually helped increase construction workforce productivity.

Maintaining a Lean Permanent Employee Base

Even after the economy began to recover, contractors chose to maintain a lean permanent employee base rather than hire back those less productive C-level craftsmen. But what happens when the workload increases, and contractors only have a small team of skilled craftsmen to meet the demand? That’s where Tradesmen International comes in.

Rather than adding B- and C-level employees back to their permanent payroll when the workload increased beyond what their core team could handle, contractors began supplementing their workforce with contingent workers from Tradesmen as needed. Because all Tradesmen craftsmen are permanent Tradesmen employees, Tradesmen covers their workers’ compensation, benefits and other expenditures, reducing contractor’s workers’ compensation exposure and costs.

Then, as the workload diminishes, these contingent employees are sent back to Tradesmen, eliminating profit-draining holdover costs associated with full-time payroll—maximizing workforce productivity and profit margins.