Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

The oil and gas boom created by fracking and other new technologies has sent the demand for new construction along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana through the roof.  The impact of this surge in construction is being felt throughout the Midwest as well.

The demand has outstripped the supply of qualified construction craft professionals, and that has affected new commercial and industrial construction projects.  There is a growing shortage of skilled craft professionals needed to build the petrochemical plants, office buildings, warehouses, roads, and other projects spawned by the incredible growth in our regional economy – growth that is expected to continue into the next decade.  To address these needs, Construction Citizen this week launched its new
Craft Careers section and is expanding its editorial focus to include topics in industrial as well as in commercial construction.   Read more » about Construction Citizen Launches Careers Section for Craft Professionals

As we reflect on Veterans Day this week, most of us think about the countless blessings we have because of the sacrifice and service of our country’s brave men and women.  There is no doubt that this holiday gives deserving recognition to those who have so gallantly served.  However, we can do more than simply recognize our veterans.  We must remember the words of John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Earlier this year, the construction industry committed to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years.  In order to accomplish this, Build Your Future (BYF) partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense to use an effective recruitment tool known as SkillBridge, an online, Twitter-based portal specifically for transitioning service members.

During the last 180 days of service, military personnel undergo a transition phase.  Transitioning into civilian life is a daunting challenge for many service members, and two out three veterans report having a difficult time during this process.  In addition, veterans listed the greatest challenge during the phase was finding a civilian job.   Read more » about What Veterans Day Means to Our Industry

An astounding 83 percent of construction firms around the nation are having trouble finding enough workers and the numbers in Texas are even worse, according to a new survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America.

AGC surveyed 1,086 companies in late August and early September and said not only were the vast majority of them struggling to find craft workers, but 61% said the same about recruitment for key professional positions.  Drilling down into the Texas numbers, 90 percent of construction companies faced serious challenges in finding enough craft professionals and half of them are quickly losing workers to other industries.   Read more » about Survey Shows Texas Construction Companies Are Struggling to Find Workers

A recent study by the National Women’s Law Center called Women In Construction: Still Breaking Ground examines the current state of women in construction and finds that the industry is sorely lacking in programs to bring women into the industry and that women continue to suffer harassment and bullying on the jobsite.

The study, underwritten by the Ford Foundation, Morningstar Foundation, New Morning Foundation and the Irene B. Wolt Lifetime Trust, states that, “The share of women in construction has remained shockingly low – under 3 percent – for decades due in large part to the discrimination that blocks women from entering and staying in the field.”

This is interesting in that the study compares construction to other fields and finds that women’s roles in the other professions have grown to levels of 50% – far outstripping the approximately 3% of women in our industry.  Currently, the report states that, “There are about 7,615,000 male construction workers in the U.S. and only about 206,000 women.”

The study shares personal stories of women who are in the industry or were in the industry but left due to the conditions that they were subjected to on a daily basis.   Read more » about FBI – Friends, Brothers and In-Laws, but Few Women in Construction

Rowdy behavior on construction jobsites is by no means a new phenomenon.  Any employer who’s been through litigation stemming from sexual or racial harassment on a jobsite is keenly aware of that.  Informing your managers of what to be on the lookout for and what’s completely unacceptable are key.

Some of the types of harassment now generating litigation against business owners are changing.  Employers need to know that they can’t simply dismiss claims as frivolous just because the harassment takes on a form they might not have expected.

During a recent employment law conference hosted by K&S Insurance Agency in the Dallas area, attorney Daniel Ramirez of Monty & Ramirez LLP told a room full of employers from the construction industry and others about the changing face of harassment on jobsites.   Read more » about Trends in Jobsite Harassment that Employers Need to Know About

There is currently not enough information available about career opportunities in the construction industry.  This means that educating everybody about our industry is critical, especially our education system.  It is more important than ever for contractors to connect with educators at the local level.  Members of industry can do this by providing opportunities for presentations and field trips and by joining advisory boards to offer input about the knowledge and skills the industry expects from new entrants.

In February 2011, Harvard’s Graduate School of Education published a landmark report, Pathways to Prosperity (download available below), which outlined the need for multiple career pathways to be incorporated into America’s education system.   Read more » about Building Stronger Career Pathways

The following article originally appeared in the October newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.

Every CEO and senior executive has, as a major part of their responsibilities, the obligation to set the strategic direction for their organization so that it has a deliberately designed future – one that is believable and desirable.  They also have the obligation to lead their organization toward that future, acquiring the necessary resources and making the critical changes.

Strategy, simply defined by the reigning guru Michael Porter of the Center for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard, is what an organization faced with competition does to gain a sustainable completive advantage in the markets.  It is how it puts resources at risk to provide more value, or a different value than competitors, to a targeted group of customers within target market segments.  It becomes in essence “What” the company does.   Read more » about Who Before What: Talent Enables Strategy

The federal government is getting more serious all the time about cracking down on businesses that pretend their employees are subcontractors when, by law, they should be paid as employees.  That was part of the message of labor law attorney Daniel Ramirez as he spoke to about a hundred representatives of various businesses at a labor law conference in the Dallas area hosted by
K&S Insurance Agency.

Ramirez, who also spoke in great detail about workplace issues like sexual harassment and the realities of the Affordable Care Act, said that his main concern for employers about worker misclassification is that companies can quickly find themselves in court facing class-action lawsuits.

“This is one of the hottest litigated issues,” Ramirez said, in large part because some workers will find out they should have been paid as employees and therefore should have received overtime pay.   Read more » about Noted Labor Law Attorney Warns Employers Against Worker Misclassification

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