A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Construction Talent Development Wake-Up Call

Our friends at FMI have completed their 2017 Talent Development Survey and recently issued their findings. The results, while revealing, should not be surprising in light of recent conversations going on the subject of Talent or Skilled Craft Workforce Development.

The survey results highlight a major shift that is needed in the industry mindset to find new workers to meet the workforce shortages and to keep the Skilled Craft professionals that are currently in the industry. The FMI findings state that “89% of the survey respondents reported that they were experiencing workforce shortages.” That shortage is being exacerbated by the natural disasters and by the threat of major immigration restrictions.

In order to respond to the shortages, the survey stated that “75% of the firms reported that they had made changes to their current training programs or had instituted them with ‘Mixed Results.” In many cases this reflects the fact that most construction firms do not have formalized training or career ladders for their Craft Workforce and are wrestling with ways to change their existing programs to meet new needs

“Why not?” you might ask. According to FMI, “43% of the firms” who responded to the survey this year reported that they have no talent development budget at all. The quote that the FMI team used in the executive summary pretty well sums it up: “Historically, many of our leaders have focused mainly on putting out fires and managing things, not leading people. We are now trying to create an environment in which leaders are selected and rewarded based on how well they build teams and set goals, and how well their teams achieve goals (not just them personally). That is a huge cultural change.” That quote came from an HR professional in one of the respondent firms.

While many firms do have OSHA required safety training programs, their craft training and talent development programs are lacking. The current and projected labor force shortages and the demands of the new generation of young people who are entering the industry are forcing that cultural change for sure.

Some companies in the commercial construction industry are taking note of the need to develop skilled craft talent for the future. An example In the Houston region is an organization named the Construction Career Collaborative or C3.

C3, a “not for profit” collaboration of Owners, General and Specialty Contractors, industry associations, real estate professionals, architects and institutional providers, is currently helping the 43% of regional construction firms noted in the FMI survey to start their own Craft Training and Talent Development Programs.  Industry associations like ABC and AGC have joined owner developers like Hines and major contractors like McCarthy and Gilbane to endorse the new C3 Craft Training Program.  

Currently, ten member firms of the almost 200 C3 Accredited Employers, are involved in a “Pilot Craft Training Program” as part of the requirement for construction employers to become Accredited Employers and work on designated C3 projects.   The “pilot’ is scheduled to be made available to the C3 membership in early 2018. C3 is one example of the industry and business leaders collaborating to address the issues highlighted by the FMI survey.

It is clear from the 2017 FMI Talent Development Survey that a major technological and cultural change is in progress in the industry. It is clear that those “forward looking” construction leaders are creating new ways to develop and retain their talent. It is also becoming clear that those construction company “leaders” who do not have or are not paying attention to their talent development programs are about to be “left in the dust”.

Read the survey report at: https://www.fminet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/TalentDevelopmentSurvey_FINAL.pdf

Read another view of the survey at: https://www.constructiondive.com/news/fmi-many-construction-firms-dont-embrace-necessary-level-of-workforce-dev/508315/