Unique staffing challenges in the construction industry: Part I
Unless your business is 100 percent automated, staffing – from attracting new, skilled talent to retaining your current employees – is becoming a greater challenge every day. And the forecast is not promising. This business challenge won’t solve itself and unless you take proactive action soon, the negative impact will hit your bottom line.
The issue deepens even further in the skilled trades’ arenas. In a previous article, we looked at the unique challenges the manufacturing industry faces. In this article, we focus on the construction industry, which has its own unique and complex challenges.
Unlike what I have seen in manufacturing, the training programs for the construction industry appear to be top notch and well organized. This is especially true in union apprenticeship programs, although fewer and fewer companies are unionized - and even fewer people (down 23 percent) are joining apprenticeship programs.
Companies in the construction industry that are not unionized must carry both the burden of finding the right people and developing training programs themselves.
The construction industry also faces general staffing challenges (with fewer people in the labor pool) that are compounded by the social stigma of working a skilled trade and the actual, demanding physical labor aspects of those jobs.
The surprising part is that even though everyone sees what is coming around the corner – a shortage of skilled trade labor – there are not very many new or creative measures to address this huge issue. Many in the construction business are engaging in specific initiatives to help address some of the big picture issues, but that is a far cry from a solution.
Will this issue solve itself? The statistics point to no.
Who then is responsible or owns the issue of increasing the number of people being trained for skilled trade labor? The construction companies? The unions? The trade associations? In most cases, all are ill prepared as it stands today.
One premise is that if all of these entities have the same common issue, wouldn’t it make sense to combine efforts?The good news is that there are things you can do, but you need get started yesterday. There are no quick fixes. In our next article, we will share a number of those ideas to give you a good starting point or to help take your current efforts to the next level.
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- Steven J. KrisfalusyManaging Partner, Beringer Group LLC / CTS