What is Your Business Plan for the Economic Turnaround?
You don’t need me to tell you construction employment is still dismal and jobs scarce. Worse, the “end in sight” is still 7-10 years away, although recent forecasts project small but steady improvement between now and then. In a recent South Florida Sun-Sentinel article by Marcia Heroux Pounds, construction supervisors were referred to as “hot jobs,” although the article points out we won’t see the same levels of construction employment we saw during the boom years for decades. Still, improvement is all we ask from an industry that has seen annual declines in employment since the big bust. Forecasts suggest we’ll start seeing that soon.
Which raises the question: what are you doing to prepare? As Ms. Pounds points out in her article, once construction rebounds, qualified supervisors will be hard to find, as many of them have sought out new careers during this period of unemployment. Now is a good time for planning. Any improvement in construction activity will be meaningless if you can’t staff the jobs. On the other hand, you may not be in a good position to hire and hold qualified supervisors waiting for the next opportunity. The appropriate middle ground may be for you to start locating and talking to the people you know you would want to hire when the time is right and stay in regular contact with them until then. That way, you’ll know where they are and what their job status is and you’ll be in their front-of-mind should they decide to move back into construction or take another job, giving you the chance to hire them at that time before you lose them. Those supervisors likely know others who you should also meet and keep in your folds until the time comes. Those of you who wait until the improvement comes to start hiring will find all the qualified people have already been taken by those who started planning now.
You don’t need to incur the costs of actually hiring until you have work to offer them. But by staying in touch with them, you can position yourself for a quick hire when the time is right, thereby assuring appropriate staffing levels as construction activity hopefully increases.