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Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Staffing Agency to Fill Skilled Trade Positions

The current job market

The job market is still currently in favor of candidates and the search to fill entry level skilled worker vacancies is intensifying. 

In times when talent becomes difficult to find, many companies hire staffing agencies to help them fill vacant positions. Staffing agencies are proving to be very useful to many companies during the current labor shortage. According to Staffing Industry Analyst (SIA), 68 percent of staffing agencies reported increased revenue in 2022. If you’re struggling to fill a skilled trades position, consider hiring an employment agency. Here’s why. 

What does a staffing agency do?

A staffing agency functions similarly to a recruiter — a company approaches them with a position they’d like to fill, and the staffing agency launches a search to find talent for them. It works in reverse, too. People seeking a job can approach a staffing agency, which will then connect them to potential employers. 

This is the case for most industries. For skilled trade positions, staffing agencies will have a roster of skilled tradespeople and connections that they can call on for client needs. A good staffing agency will also vet its employees, and make sure the talent they provide to their clients meets their criteria. That way, employers hiring the staffing agency only need to focus on the project at hand, not the hiring process. 

Why use a staffing agency?

There are multiple advantages to hiring a staffing agency for both employers and job seekers. For employers in general, staffing agencies will handle the marketing end of the job. Agencies will create profiles and listings on all the relevant job boards and advertise the position to the relevant market. 

For skilled trade positions, staffing agencies handle a lot of the background work for hiring. They screen candidates, research their history, and conduct drug and background checks. Often, the agency will have connections to multiple skill sets, so they can handle your talent needs. Additionally, staffing agencies can provide talent for short or long-term projects, or even permanently. 

Aerotek Practice Lead Mathew Novak has helped businesses find the right workers for over 8 years. He explains the benefits of working with an employment agency that specializes in specific skill sets.

“Our recruiters are specialized and focused on one industry. We’re constantly screening and networking to find the skill sets companies need. We’re not looking for just any worker, we’re looking for the right worker,” says Novak.

How do staffing agencies work? 

When it comes to trades, a staffing agency may specialize in a particular type of trade (e.g., welding). Or they may focus on a certain type of project like commercial construction. When you find an agency with the trade you’re looking to hire, they’ll leverage their contact networks and connections to find the right person for your role. Their expertise, candidate network and workforce to review and screen candidates are some of the key benefits a quality staffing partner can offer. 

You can give specific details of your project and the staffing services you need to help their search. Employers might request a particular set or amount of experience or skills. While staffing agencies for skilled trades do their best to find talent suited for your needs, you have the final say in bringing an employee aboard. You’ll be able to meet and interview the candidates before you make the decision. 

Regional Business Development Executive and Lead for Aerotek’s Construction Division Joshua Miles has over 14 years of experience in partnering with companies to overcome their staffing challenges and hire skilled trades workers in construction. He highlights some of the benefits of working with a staffing agency to find skilled trades workers in construction.

“Our job is to identify skilled candidates who understand what it takes to work in the construction industry, the safety requirements and ultimately place them with our clients in need of additional personnel.  We network with passive and active job seekers to build networks of candidates with specific skills in specific geographies. It is important for us to figure out what motivates them and what they’re looking for in an employer,” says Miles.

How much do staffing agencies charge? 

This varies with each agency. In general, most staffing agencies will charge a percentage of the would-be employee’s wages, starting around 25%. How this payment is structured is different as some agencies will ask for a monthly payment while they commence their search. Others will request a fee upfront or when they onboard the employee. 

The different types of staffing agencies 

There are different types of staffing agencies depending on the type of talent you’re seeking. There are general or traditional staffing agencies, which go through the process of connecting talent to employers. Then there are executive staffing agencies, also called “headhunters,” who find talent with executive or high-level management experience. 

Employers searching for tradespeople can look for a staffing agency specializing in skilled worker outreach. An agency specialized in a specific skilled trade should be more efficient in locating the workers you need.

Regardless of your decision, a good employment agency will work with quality professionals that they can vet for. Often, staffing agencies have a portfolio of projects or buildings they’ve supplied talent for. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to help you decide which type of staffing agency to hire. 

The benefits of working with staffing agencies

One of the benefits of working with staffing agencies such as Aerotek is that their staffing services include a lot of the marketing and onboarding processes for job openings. This in turn frees up more of your time to focus on reaching business goals outside of staffing.  

Remember, seasoned staffing agencies will be able to leverage their networks to find good talent —perhaps even more quickly than if you alone advertised the job. In the end, it can save you plenty of time, and land you an excellent employee that’ll become an asset to your company. 

Staffing agencies can also help employers overcome unpredictable challenges like supply-chain disruptions. Finding skilled talent is difficult even when the supply chain is stable. If you have a certain job that needs to be filled — maybe an opening for a maintenance mechanic or machine operator — staffing agencies will have you covered. 

“Supply-chain disruptions can create slowdowns which can create a demand for specific skills like preventative maintenance. This work is often done during the off hours and when companies experience a sudden slowdown due to supply-chain issues we can help them find the person with the right skill set and attitude quickly,” says Aerotek Practice Lead Liz Wellman.

Interested in staffing services for your skilled trade positions?

If your search for skilled trades workers is becoming a challenge, check out Aerotek’s website for more information on our staffing services and how we can help. Fill out our contact form to get started today!