- LATEST HEADLINES
- THE MAGAZINE
Whether you’re a knowledgeable football fan (Go Steelers!) or a casual observer, most of you are aware of the recent turmoil created by the use of replacement refs in the NFL. Poor calls ended up deciding some games, and the integrity of the sport as a whole was jeopardized.
Watching these poorly officiated games, it became very clear to me how important it is to have trained professionals in every position within an organization in order to experience true business success. An entire organization can suffer if even one aspect is not up to par. Whether in the NFL or in the construction industry, this notion holds true and is a relevant topic as we forge ahead.
Construction professionals-whether in the field or office, trades or management, engineering or administration-should all be highly trained to make decisions regarding policies, acts or events that can have a great impact to the organization. These skills are gained through education, hands-on experience, practice and repetition. However, what happens when most of our crews are relatively inexperienced, such as the refs?
Currently, we face such a dilemma within our construction industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (March 2012), construction is projected to be one of the fastest growing job sectors through 2020, rising by 33 percent and adding 1.8 million jobs. While this is certainly great news, there is a not-so-silver lining that the construction industry faces-a well-documented shortage of skilled workers within both the trades and project management.
Due to factors including the economic downturn, our aging workforce and the insufficient pipeline of younger workers, many skill sets that will aid in the successful growth of our industry are lacking. Many of our peers have left the industry, and many training and apprentice programs needed to replace these workers have been severely cut back. In my geographic area, industries such as the Marcellus Shale have grabbed up and trained many of these workers, leaving us without suitable replacements. The Marcellus industry systematically engaged in outreach, recruiting and training efforts down to the grassroots level (hint, hint), enabling them to find workers with a high likelihood of success.
Contrast this to the construction industry-where training and outreach slowed, and the number of workers entering the industry declined-and we now face a worker shortage. With greater demand for professionals of all types and a need for increased hiring, what are we to do? How can we avoid being saddled with an influx of “replacement workers” that may negatively impact our bottom lines as a result of their lack of training and skills?
I look forward to hearing some of your thoughts and solutions, which I will share along with some of my opinions in an upcoming blog. I am honored to be speaking on this topic as part of a panel discussion at the upcoming Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Training Professionals Conference in San Antonio on Oct. 15 and look forward to sharing some of our possible solutions there as well.