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Monster Construction Hiring Outlook


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Attract, Hire and Retain Skilled Talent
Cranes, forklifts and cement mixers are a harbinger of economic growth. By these indicators and others, the construction industry is booming.

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Monster Construction Hiring Outlook

  1. 1. Construction Hiring Outlook Monster has everything you need to source new talent, match candidates to opportunities and manage your workforce.
  2. 2. Construction Hiring Outlook Share Tweet Cranes, forklifts and cement mixers are a harbinger of economic growth. By these indicators and others, the construction industry is booming. In fact, the American Institute of Architects’ semi-annual survey of leading construction forecasters projects 2016 construction spending to increase by 8.2%. The U.S. Commerce Department agrees. During the fourth quarter of 2015 construction spending reached its highest level since 2008, with spending growing to $1.09 trillion. Such growth poses a recruitment challenge for the construction industry. The time is now to address these talent shortages. This Construction Hiring Outlook will help your efforts to attract, recruit and retain the talent you need to construct the next wave of construction growth. Contents Rebuilding a Construction Workforce. . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Jobs that Are in High Demand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 How to Fill the Skills Gap. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Company Profile: K&K IronWorks Company. . . . . . . 8 Training, Mentoring and Apprenticeships. . . . . . . . . 9 Company Profile: TMG Construction Company. . . 11 A Construction Heat Map. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Monster Resource Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
  3. 3. Construction Hiring Outlook 2 Share Tweet Rebuilding a Construction Workforce The improving economy opens up ample opportunities for new construction projects, yet finding workers to staff those projects isn’t easy. “Now that the economy is on the upswing, there is a major shortage of workers across the board,” said Eileen von Husen, safety coordinator with Chicago-based K & K IronWorks, a structural steel fabricator and erector. This challenge is echoed across the industry. According to the latest survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), 86% of U.S. construction companies are having difficulty hiring skilled workers, affecting both union and open-shop firms. What explains this labor deficit? The construction industry was decimated during the last recession. The industry lost 2.3 million workers between 2006 and 2011, according to the Labor Department. The massive exodus might suggest that there are skilled workers aplenty on the sidelines. Unfortunately for construction firms, this isn’t the case. A vast number of displaced workers headed for the hills and haven’t returned. “During the downturn, a lot of experienced construction workers got jobs in other industries,” said Brian Turmail, executive director of public affairs at Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Turmail notes that construction was one of the first industries to lay workers off, and also late to the rehiring game. Older workers simply decided to exit the workforce altogether. “A lot of Baby Boomers said, ‘I’m hanging up the tool belt and going fishing.’” Increasingly restrictive immigration policies and better opportunities in Mexico and Central America due to nearshoring have also drained the labor pool. The number of Mexican-born construction workers has dropped by 570,000, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department, data that was analyzed by John Burns Real Estate Consulting. As Bob Davis, Wall Street Journal senior editor, told Tom Ashbrook of On Point radio: “Immigrants are not coming back. As a result there’s a labor shortage in the construction field.” The shortage of manual labor drives up costs and slows down projects. Learn how your construction company can address the demand for construction talent and skills in the pages ahead.
  4. 4. Construction Hiring Outlook 3 Share Tweet Jobs that Are in High Demand Through interviews with builders, technical recruiters specializing in construction placements and industry research, we’ve identified five of the most in-demand jobs in the sector: CARPENTER Function: The carpenter is responsible for cutting, shaping and installing building materials. Skill Set: A carpenter must be able to work with various tools and machines, including hand and power tools. He or she needs strong math skills to measure materials and have an ability to read blueprints to determine layout. Carpenters must be attentive to detail, able to work precisely and have steady hands, strength and stamina. Why They’re in Demand: Apprenticeship programs have shrunk by nearly half since 2003. Many skilled workers left construction for other fields and haven’t returned, leaving a shortage of skilled carpenters to staff an ever-growing number of projects. Where to Find Them: Consider looking in underutilized talent pools, such as veterans. Hiring Our Heroes, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, offers job fairs, job listings, a resume bank and free webinars for employers. Veterans are often well-suited to construction environments, noted Brian Turmail of AGC. “They are accustomed to being part of a team. They show up on time. They can pass a drug test. They’re not afraid to work outside.”
  5. 5. Construction Hiring Outlook 4 Share Tweet PROJECT MANAGER Function: The project manager plans, manages, tracks and closes out projects. This individual is responsible for leading negotiations, developing bid proposals and establishing project organization and staffing. They must also provide leadership to the project team, in addition to maximizing profitability and developing new business. Skill Set: Must be able to organize schedules; manage materials and equipment, assess risk, lead negotiations and communicate effectively with project teams, upper management and customers. Why They’re in Demand: Many project managers lost jobs in the early part of the recession and sought out opportunities in other fields. In addition, vocational education and training programs have shrunk over the past decade, leading to a shortage of skilled workers. Where to Find Them: Consider recruiting project managers from other fields, such as IT or consulting, who are often willing to receive further construction training. Look for someone who is able to manage high levels of stress, learns quickly, has strong relationship and communication skills and is able to make decisions quickly and logically. SCHEDULER/PROJECT CONTROLS Function: The scheduler is responsible for developing, preparing and maintaining an accurate, computerized schedule based on engineering plans and specifications. Skill Set: This role requires a high level of IT competency which unfortunately can be rare in the construction industry. Schedulers must understand engineering and architectural plans and the range of approved methods, materials and devices used in construction. Why They’re in Demand: Schedulers are critical to project success; an accurate schedule is fundamental to a well-managed project. This role is in short supply due to a lack of training and empty recruitment pipeline. Where to Find Them: The best candidates will have knowledge of construction administration, management and production, along with an IT background that features advanced knowledge of scheduling software. Your best bet may be to look for someone with IT skills and teach them the industry.
  6. 6. Construction Hiring Outlook 5 Share Tweet PLUMBER / PIPEFITTER Function: These skilled trade professionals install and repair pipes that carry liquids or gases to, from, and within businesses, homes, factories and other places with pipes or septic systems. Skill Set: This role demands a combination of mechanical skills — using tools to assemble and repair pipe systems — along with the physical strength to lift and move heavy pipes. The role requires the ability to troubleshoot systems to find, diagnose and repair problems. Why They’re in Demand: The construction boom, along with a large number of retiring workers, as well as a decline in apprenticeships, has left a gaping recruitment hole. Where to Find Them: Those workers who were laid off from the oil and gas industry due to depressed oil prices may be ripe to consider construction jobs in the short run. A long-term talent fix will require an investment in candidates through internships or apprenticeships. CONSTRUCTION LABORER Function: Laborers perform tasks involving physical labor at construction sites, including the use of hand and power tools such as air hammers, earth tampers, cement mixers, mechanical hoists, surveying and measuring equipment, etc. Skill Set: This person must be able to perform strenuous physical labor and must have good manual dexterity, coordination and stamina in order to perform required duties. Why They’re in Demand: The tightening of immigration laws, in concert with better opportunities in their home countries, has diminished the immigrant labor pool considerably, at a time when demand is surging. Where to Find Them: In rural areas, consider recruiting agricultural workers to perform basic construction roles. But don’t expect to attract the attention of these workers online as this group tends not to be computer savvy. “There is a knowledge gap between companies and employees seeking work and it lies with being able to use a computer effectively to apply for jobs,” said Adam Capps, Commercial Department Manager, with UB Commercial, an Ohio-based commercial roofing company.
  7. 7. Construction Hiring Outlook 6 Share Tweet How to Fill the Skills Gap Filling the construction skills gap requires a multi-pronged approach. Start by promoting the construction industry as a solid career choice to young people. Next, build new skills from the ground up in partnership with community colleges and vocational programs. Finally, take time to develop compelling construction career paths for young workers that span from recruitment to retirement. Successfully Recruiting New Candidates Bringing young people into the field is imperative, given the looming retirements of a many skilled workers. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, one quarter of commercial and residential construction workers will be 55 or older by 2020, an increase of nearly 30 percent. There is a pressing need to transfer important skills from an aging workforce to the next generation. Attracting young people requires overcoming a long-term image problem, said said AGC's Brian Turmail. “For 30 years, we have culturally and institutionally been sending a message that construction is a career of last resort.” To address this issue, many AGC member firms are making investments in recruitment campaigns in partnership with their states, such as Go Build Alabama, Go Build Tennessee, Go Build Georgia, Build Wisconsin and Build Colorado. These sites aim to get the word out about the industry to a young audience who don’t necessarily know about the long-term career opportunities in construction. Organizations such as YouthBuild and Go Green Initiative aim to create a workforce of eco-conscious young professionals.
  8. 8. Construction Hiring Outlook 7 Share Tweet Align your Employer Branding with Millennial Values It isn’t enough to support statewide industry campaigns. Your own employer branding is also critical, especially when it comes to recruiting Millennials. Bob Hadick, president of Ohio recruiting firm Russ, Hadick and Associates, says Millennials will choose a role at a particular company based on cultural fit alone. “Millennials look for companies that offer selling points like flexibility,” said Hadick. Others aim to appeal to Millennials by highlighting their green building practices. "Keep in mind that many Millennials would rather work in a small company than a big one," says Cathy Taylor, a recruitment marketing consultant in Aurora, Illinois. "Even in your job descriptions, use phrases like, 'We offer a learning environment where you collaborate with a team, where you will be recognized for the work you do.’" Taylor issues this reminder about where Millennials came from: the millions of workers who hail from previous generations. "We Boomers and Gen Xers have inherited in the workplace the children we only recently finished bringing up," says Taylor. "It's just that they’ve always had someone who was encouraging them, so they expect that." Remember that an inspired company motivates employees – both young and old – by recognizing the power of praise and incorporates praise into the workplace Highlight your Employer Brand Your employer brand reflects your company’s commitment to its employees. It’s also what differentiates your company from everyone else. Take some time to think about what makes your organization’s work culture unique; the key is to then incorporate these features into your hiring process. If your company culture offers workplace flexibility, then highlight this feature when interviewing candidates. One way to do so is by asking candidates when they are most productive. This will allow you to promote your flexible work hours. You’ll also be able to determine if the candidate’s internal clock matches your company’s time clock. An added plus: many white-collar workers find that construction hours align well with their family-oriented lifestyle. Learn more in the K&K IronWorks company profile on the next page.
  9. 9. Construction Hiring Outlook 8 Share Tweet COMPANY PROFILE K&K IronWorks Company K&K IronWorks is a family-friendly business. And for recruitment, that orientation pays off in more ways than one. When Eileen von Husen sought a career change from IT project management a few years back, she chose to move to construction. Today, von Husen is a safety coordinator at K&K IronWorks, a structural steel fabricator and install- er in McCook, IL. She made the move in part because the hours could align with her responsibilities as a parent of young children. “In construction, I work 6:30 am to 3:30 pm,” von Husen says. Thus a recruitment strategy is born: Entice talented professionals who seek a school-hours position with the promise of traditional hardhat hours, which are often similar. Before being recruited by K&K – first as a project manager, since those skills are so transferrable – von Husen prepped herself by taking community college courses in construction project management and industry-standard software. “Even though I had no experience in construction, K&K took me because they thought I would learn fast and work hard,” says von Husen. And since she was hired, the Chicago-area employer has paid for van Husen’s certification coursework in key safety areas such as OSHA compliance, erector hazards and fall safety. K&K’s investment in its employees is both a lure to candidates and a retention tool for employees seeking advancement. K&K also offers extensive on-the-job training and cross-training – often provided by men about twice von Husen’s size. “The guys around me have taken so much time to help me learn,” she says. “A lot of these guys have been out here for 30 years and some work in father-son teams.” That’s a multigenerational workforce in a more traditional sense – and it’s a boon to K&K’s talent strategy in two ways: enticing young people to join the firm and giving their fathers (and, perhaps, their mothers) another reason to stay. Many of K&K’s entry-level hires learn through apprenticeship. In a world where so many employers expect inexperienced young people to somehow hit the ground running with very little training, a year-long period of paid in- the-trenches (or on-the-I-beam) learning can be a great way to attract that next generation of workers.
  10. 10. Construction Hiring Outlook 9 Share Tweet Training, Mentoring and Apprenticeships Over the last 30 years, U.S. education policy has emphasized four-year college as the goal for every student. Unfortunately, this has shunted students and funding away from what used to be a robust technical and vocational education system. Fortunately, this trend is beginning to change as employers, local workforce development organizations, vocational programs and community colleges work together to make career and technical education a priority in high schools across the country. As more construction companies get involved with vocation programs and local workforce organizations, the more likely it is these programs will produce the skills and talent they need. According to John Boyd, principal at the Boyd Company, an independent corporate site selection firm, a major focus for technical and vocational schools is enriching labor markets around the nation. Boyd notes that “skill sets like computerized energy systems, designing and implementing curtain walls, logistics mapping to import raw materials to the site as quickly and efficiently as possible and other high tech skills related to LEED-friendly building” are helping train future workers. Many construction firms feed their talent pipeline through internship or co-operative degree programs, in partnership with local vocational programs. These initiatives enable employers to assess the candidate’s skills and fit while tailoring the intern's training to the construction firm's specific needs.
  11. 11. Construction Hiring Outlook 10 Share Tweet The Growth of Apprenticeships Some companies turn to apprenticeship programs to fill talent gaps in skilled trades, often in partnership with other companies and industry partners, to better afford these highly resource-intensive programs. Fortunately, apprenticeships are starting to regain some ground. In 2014, President Obama awarded $175 million in grants to 46 apprenticeship programs, intended to provide training opportunities for 34,000 new apprentices over the next five years, and to expand apprenticeship opportunities. Providing a Path for Continued Success A common concern among construction companies is that they will invest heavily in training an apprentice, only to have that skilled worker get poached by another company for a slightly higher wage. One way to combat this is to ensure that workers have a clear path of professional development and promotion that will keep talent motivated and engaged. This is important for all employees — not just those in whom you’ve invested. Focus on offering workers career pathways, not just skills that prepare them for the initial job you’re trying to fill. These efforts involve formal training, knowledge sharing, cross-training on relevant skills, ongoing performance support and coaching. These offerings will prepare high performers for leadership opportunities, another plus for long- term staffing.
  12. 12. Construction Hiring Outlook 11 Share Tweet COMPANY PROFILE TMG Construction Company Recruitment is a key function at TMG Construction Corp., a 70-employee commercial and civil design- build firm in Purcellville, Va. TMG has a small workforce but requires very diverse skill sets, from carpentry to engineering to accounting. For some roles, the company relies on conventional recruitment. “We find project managers, superintendent and construction engineers through employee referral, job boards and word of mouth,” says Richard Wilson, director of human resources. Occasionally, a requisition requires TMG to go further afield. “We connect with professional associations to recruit for openings like proposal manager and construction engineer, which are harder to find. Sometimes we’ll post jobs on college sites or do campus job fairs.” Construction does not traditionally field a diverse workforce. But with a woman founder, TMG does better than average. CEO Tanya Matthews is heavily involved with the American Institute of Constructors professional association and meets with many other groups in the industry and beyond. “She also interviews everyone we hire,” increasing her visibility in applicant pools, says Wilson. “We find that college campuses are a great way to find candidates who are members of minority groups.” TMG also turns inward to train new hires to groom promising employees for advancement. “When you’re a small company, you do a lot of on-the-job training,” says Wilson. This can take the form of informal apprenticeships and cross-training, where the cost is measured in terms of employees’ time rather than out-of-pocket. “We match new hires up with experienced workers for mentoring,” says Wilson. “Construction superintendents love showing kids coming out of school how it’s done. And the kids know technology, so they learn from each other.” Mentoring turns out to be a great way of increasing job satisfaction for older workers and that boosts their retention. TMG also offers tuition reimbursement and has put many employees through outside certification courses for safety and quality control.
  13. 13. Construction Hiring Outlook 12 Share Tweet A Construction Heat Map Here are a number of states where construction is booming and construction skills are in greatest demand. CALIFORNIA WHY? California saw a construction boom in 2015, adding 48,900 construction jobs between July 2014 and July 2015, particularly in Anaheim/Santa Ana/Irvine, Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario and Los Angeles/Long Beach/Glendale, as reported by the AGC. A 2016 Construction Outlook Survey conducted by AGC found that 74% of employers expect to increase their staff in 2016. WASHINGTON WHY? Washington added 15,300 new construction jobs, mostly in the Seattle area, between July 2014 and July 2015, according to the AGC. ACG’s 2016 Construction Outlook Survey found that 65% of employers expect to increase their staff in 2016.
  14. 14. Construction Hiring Outlook 13 Share Tweet TEXAS WHY? Texas added 14,400 jobs last year, according to the AGC. Houston’s construction boom may be slowing slightly due to tumbling oil prices but Dallas and Austin continue to show growth. ACG’s 2016 Construction Outlook Survey found that 69% of Lone Star employers expect to increase their staff in 2016. FLORIDA WHY? The AGC reported that Florida added 29,300 construction jobs between November 2014 and November 2015. AGC’s 2016 survey found that 71% of employers expect to increase their staff in 2016. GEORGIA WHY? Georgia’s construction sector had the second-lowest jobless rate in the U.S. in December 2015, according to Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. AGC’s 2016 survey found that 76% of employers expect to increase their staff in 2016. NEW YORK WHY? Building permits increased 156% over fiscal year 2014, up 749% from 2010, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the New York Building Congress. AGC’s 2016 Construction Outlook Survey found 70% of employers expect to increase their staff in 2016. MICHIGAN WHY? Western Michigan has become one of the fastest growing markets for construction jobs in the United States. ACG’s 2016 Construction Outlook Survey found that a 78% of Michigan construction firms expect to increase their staff in 2016.
  15. 15. Construction Hiring Outlook 14 Share Tweet More from the Resource Center Attract Millennials with your Employer Branding Learn to engage today’s Gen Y workers. Evolve your Employer Brand as your Company Grows Share the story of your company’s culture. How Can You Retain Baby Boomer Employees? Address the transfer of knowledge before workers retire. How Retaining Older Workers Can Help your Business Avoid critical staffing shortages with these retention strategies. The Benefits of a Repeatable Hiring Process Create consistency for your growing business. For more like this visit the Monster Resource Center Follow Us