- Help Wanted: Dirty, Difficult, Dead-end Job Pt. 1
- How You Can Develop the Skilled Labor You Need In-house Pt. 2
- Using Technology to Overcome the Labor Shortage Pt. 3
- Bringing MEP Skills Back to Schools (pt. 4)
We’re being bombarded by statistics about the skilled labor shortage. Although the percentages might vary, the reality in the construction trades is:
- About 25% of the aging workforce is planning to retire by 2030;
- By 2026 the demand for HVAC technicians is expected to grow 15%;
- Fewer young technicians are entering the HVAC workforce.
This is the second installment in the eVolve MEP blog series Overcoming the Skilled Labor Shortage. Check out the first at “Help Wanted: Dirty, Difficult, Dead-end Job.”
Either you’re one of those in the “aging workforce” category who is ready to close up business within the next ten years, or you need to do something in order to keep your business relevant and competitive in the years to come.
Following are three practical ways your company can use inhouse resources to overcome the skilled labor shortage:
Job coaching is short-term and task-focused. Through coaching, an employee can learn or improve a particular skill, like welding, or improve the interpersonal skills needed for their particular job. In the Chron article “What Is the Role of a Job Coach?” a coach is described as someone who can provide career guidance and vocational counseling in the case of people changing careers and for multiple job options within a company. A coach aims for the best career fit for an individual and career development for employees. Your company can employ a consultant short-term to provide job coaching or rely on your human resources department to fill this need.
Similar to an apprenticeship, which is mainly offered by trade guilds and unions to attain professional certification, on-the-job training allows new workers to be trained in a trade. The “student” employee gets hands-on work during on-the-job training alongside experienced workers. In any field of skilled labor, this leads to professional competence over a period of years. Sometimes, as happens in the nursing profession, the employer provides the training, and the trainee agrees to continue working for a period of time after achieving a certain level of competency. Often the fully trained employee is offered a permanent position. To take advantage of on-the-job training, identify the skills your company needs and write job descriptions for the position(s). Be sure to note the minimum qualifications you’re willing to start with and that on-the-job training is possible. Keep in mind that the new hire will be training for a career and make sure your job description reflects that.
Mentoring is long-term and career-focused. In the Forbes article, “Mentoring Matters: Three Essential Elements Of Success,” a good mentor is described as someone with the personality to work with others and possessing a deep knowledge about the skills s/he will teach. Employees to be mentored need to be responsible and accountable, willing to accept constructive criticism and interested in what they’re learning. The mentoring relationship can be more successful if goals are set, and it is traditionally a commitment lasting years. Look around your company for one or more skilled workers with the desire to guide trainees toward leading your company’s skilled workforce in the future.
Many of us can look back on our career and reflect on the people who took the time to show us the ropes and guide us as we found our footing in new career territory. The association may have been short-lived or long-term, but often the lessons learned span an entire career. With the skilled labor shortage now affecting the construction trades in a big way, perhaps it’s time for your company to use your seasoned talent to train up a new generation of skilled labor.
The people of eVolve MEP have worked in the trades, 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 the experts of eVolve MEP today and learn how they can help you put in place mentoring or job training programs to keep your business relevant and competitive in the years to come.