2016 Construction Industry Trends to Watch
As we start off 2016, it’s always good to look forward and recognize industry trends and market conditions so you can better position the company for success. One of the biggest industry trends we recognize is the shortage of skilled labor. Companies across the industry are struggling to find and keep quality workers. Even a recent article by ConstructionDive.com listed Skilled Labor Shortage at the top of their “Top 10” industry trends to watch for in 2016.
The shortage of skilled labor is a result of several factors. Many seasoned workers left the industry during the recession to find other work and just simply did not return. Others weathered through the recession but are now at the point in their life where they would like to retire. Compounding the exodus of older, seasoned workers is a whole generation of younger workers who no longer consider construction as a viable career option. Many high schools have decreased or even discontinued trade and industrial classes in favor of more “white collar” career paths. Now, as older workers are retiring, there simply isn’t anyone to fill their vacant spots.
So the challenge becomes how to attract and retain these new recruits to the construction industry. This new generation, millennials, is growing fast and will soon overshadow the GenX and Baby Boomer generations. Attracting them to an industry that they may have completely disregarded as a career path can be difficult. Companies have to start thinking out of the box when it comes to work schedules, benefits like flex-time and paid time off and increased learning and growth opportunities.
At North American Roofing we have recognized these challenges and are taking steps to address them. The implementation of paid volunteer days was just the start. We are currently looking at opportunities for telecommuting and open work spaces to encourage innovative thinking. We are developing field crew career paths and implementing apprenticeship and mentoring programs. And that is just the beginning. Research has found that companies that understand and address the needs of this up and coming generation begin to exhibit behaviors that drive innovation and net profits on average of 14% higher. And those behaviors are more likely to rub off on the Generation Xers. That’s pretty significant in any industry.
So our goal is to not only attract younger workers to our company but have a place that attracts and retains ALL generations of employees. As I have mentioned previously, our biggest asset is our people. By investing in alternative working environments that appeal to the millenial and providing many new exciting benefits for ALL employees yet keeping our open communication and family culture, we are poised for industry success – despite the shortage of skilled labor. Do you have an idea for attracting and retaining skilled labor? What makes a company have a great workplace? Let us know what you think. We invite the suggestions and look forward to hearing your feedback.
-Brian Verble, CEO