Let’s face it, no matter where our clients are located from Hawaii to Florida to California to Toronto, every single construction person has the same gripe. It’s not that finding work is difficult, it’s finding people. The Ontario Construction report stated:
“The year is 2027. That’s when experts expect about 87,000 of the half million construction workers in Ontario will be hanging up their steel-toed boots.”
Yet, young people are not deciding to come into the trades. Statistics Canada was already warning of this in 2013 of a potential labour shortage. Already, we are seeing that labour shortage predicted. In the United States, it’s not much better. After the economic downturn in 2008, 30% workers left the industry and they have not returned. 10 000 boomers are retiring each day.
There are multiple articles you can read detailing the crisis. There are also additional articles that tell you how to attract young people to your organization, or cater to millennial to attract them.
It’s a terrible idea.
Construction is hierarchical. You follow orders of the superintendent and just be quiet and do what s/he says. Brooming? Sure. Cleaning? Yes sir. There is no committee to decide what needs to be done next, or questioning why things are done a certain way – there’s no time for that. There’s no time to consider the feelings or emotions of someone, and if you need to spend more time to phrase something a certain way than actually get the job done – may as well not even do the project.
As the next generation of kids are softer than ever before (literally having rooms in schools to pet animals when they’re stressed out), there’s very few younger people that actually have the mental toughness needed for a successful career in construction.
So what’s the best way to find people? Keep the good people you have, and build more efficient processes. Try to find new ones by constantly seeking out talent, but quickly disregard anyone new that doesn’t make the cut.
Technology can assist with developing new processes. For example, cutting overhead and paperwork in the office can cut an enormous amount of cost, and that’s why we are here. End of the day, organizations will always have more and more work to price and do, but not the people to do the job. To keep your edge, improve your administrative processes through technology is probably the best way – instead of struggling to find new young people who demand a litany of items that many organizations can’t provide.