With the economy heating up and a potential shortage of workforce in the commercial construction industry looming large, it is important for us to develop a new mindset about recruiting, attracting and educating prospective construction workers.
Why should we focus on this right now?
As the new administration launches its public infrastructure projects, the demand for a construction workforce is going to increase further. With unemployment at a historic low, it is already difficult to find talented workers in commercial construction. Many construction workers, who suffered during the last recession, have moved or are in the process of moving to the fast-growing energy sector.
In addition, the younger generation especially millennials don’t view the construction industry as an attractive career option. One of the fastest growing sources of workforce in the United States has been women in recent years, but they hardly consider construction industry as a career.
About 20 years ago, Harvard Business Review published an article on “Managing Real Estate to Build Value.” It asked one basic question: Can we reduce the amount of space we’re using? It said five factors provide a snapshot of a company’s real estate situation:
Amount: Can we reduce the amount of space we’re using?
Price: Can we reduce the price we’re paying for space?
Grade: Can we do business as effectively in a different type and class of facility?
Area: Can we do business in another submarket in the region?
Risk: Can we reduce the environmental and financial risks of occupying this real estate?
While waiting to meet an old friend and mentor at the Colonial Inn in Concord, MA I noticed this plaque commemorating the “Creed of the Postal Service”. This is different than the one that we are most familiar with “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Just recently, I had a reminder of how little the skill of being a contractor is perceived. A young fellow called looking for someone to take over the project that he had been trying to perform over the last 1 ½ years. He did have his Construction Supervisor’s license and he bravely escorted the project through the community regulatory process with the assistance of his civil engineer. He had secured agreements with several trade contractors and began the Work. After spending nearly one million dollars (including deposits to secure agreements), it was recommended that he hire a professional General Contractor to complete the project before the project was in trouble. He willingly admitted that he was in over his head, and needed someone who knew what they were doing to complete the work. At the end of the day, this will end up costing more money than if he had hired a professional to complete the work in the first place.