Who wants a dirty, difficult, dead-end job? A hundred years
ago, my grandfather was an underground coal miner in the bituminous coal region
of the eastern U.S. My dad spent a little time in the mines too. It was a
dirty, difficult job, but people did it because they needed the work. Not much
recruitment was required. In high school, I didn’t know even one person who planned
to be a miner when they graduated. Some of my classmates went to college – the
ones who were going to be doctors, lawyers and engineers – and some went into
Construction paid well; it was for the most part above
ground; and there was such a variety of jobs to specialize in. You could frame
or roof a house, pour and finish concrete, run a dozer, build cabinets, install
HVAC, do plumbing, lay bricks, be an electrician. No, you couldn’t end the day
without brushing dirt off your clothes. But it was a respectable living, and –
as a bonus – with a little vocational training (at school or at home) you
could start right away and learn on the job. With a construction job, at the
end of the day you could say you actually built something.
Things shifted in the 1980s and 1990s. There was a real
emphasis on getting a college education so graduates could “get a good
job.” Somewhere along the line, construction employment developed a bad rep
that, rather than being a good job, it was a dead-end job. A vast majority of public
schools no longer offered vocational education, like “wood shop.” People apparently
figured someone else would build things; unfortunately, too many people
thought that. Here we are two decades into the new millennium and, according to
a June, 2019 Public
School Review article, 36% of the top fastest growing careers could be
pursued with the practical learning and hands on experience of vocational
training rather than a college degree. Equipped with vocational skills,
graduates are ready for internships and apprenticeships in skilled positions.
Carpentry, electrical and HVAC jobs are included in that
list of fastest growing careers. To complicate matters, a large number of
people entering the workforce today seem to have bought into the misconception
that construction jobs are to be avoided. Although some of them are looking for
a glamorous job – head of a multi-billion-dollar organization or movie star – a
survey found something unexpected. The top values that most people entering
the workforce say they’re looking for include: compensation, balance, impact,
culture, career path, pride, security, and challenge. These are values that the
construction industry is well within its bounds to offer, and there are plenty
of open jobs in construction. The Balance Small Business article: “A
Step-By-Step Guide to Construction Recruitment,” describes steps that
construction companies can take when searching for potential employees who are looking
for those top values.
The first is to identify the skills your company needs and
write job descriptions for those positions. Be sure to note minimum
qualifications and whether on-the-job training or mentoring are possible. Before
you can recruit effectively, you must believe in your industry’s value. Is this
just a job, or is it a career? Based on numbers from Salary.com, the average US plumber with a
couple years of experience earns $56,387. Carpenters average $40,250, not
including overtime. Experienced workers in the HVAC trade average $50,300 annually.
More experienced trades workers earn more. In the 1970s, we were told that a typical
full-time employee could expect to earn a million dollars in the course of
their career. Let’s see, 40 years of being a plumber at $50K, not accounting
for pay raises, comes to $2-million. Yep, that’s a career.
After deciding what employees you’re looking for, decide
what values your company can offer to potential employees. Specify how
employees can achieve balance in their job, how their productivity will impact the
industry, how your company culture nurtures employees, what the advancement
potential and security are, and what challenges can enable professional growth.
rule applies to employees in these positions as much as any other pursuit.
After 10,000 hours of employment (4.9 years), the worker is typically
performing at “expert” level. Pay rates accelerate for experts, and that means
something when it comes to security.
Search for potential employees where they spend their
time. You’re most likely to find the new generation of workers online.
Social media is a good place to start, as well as online classifieds. As the
Small Business article asserts, be open to attracting talent wherever it
exists. Before you interview prospects, develop interview questions based on
what’s important to your company.
It’s kind of nice to see interest in the construction
industry come full circle. After all, construction jobs are good jobs; the
industry continues to offer a respectable living; and people can again feel a
sense of accomplishment that they are building something.
The people of eVolve
MEP have worked in the construction industry, so they know the challenges
you face and the innovations that can make a difference. Their involvement in the
development of eVolve Electrical
and eVolve Mechanical
ensures that the software meets your industry’s needs. Contact eVolve MEP today and
learn how to transform your company’s BIM productivity to the next level.
ATLANTA -- EVOLVE announces a wave of updates to its suite of software for MEP contractors and prefab shops. These updates introduce new features, improved functionality, and bug fixes to enhance users' experience. One of the key updates is the addition of 3D model...