It's no secret that the AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) industry is experiencing a skill shortage like never before. Even with an influx of new AEC jobs, resourcing skilled workers is still a huge challenge. There are many reasons for the skilled worker shortage, but what about the employees you already have that are contributing to your exceedingly difficult goals and driving growth for your AEC firm? How can companies ensure they are retaining the talent they need the most?
AEC's Skilled Worker Shortage
When asked what keeps him up at night, Pete Hagan, director of engineering at Caldwell, one of the world's most respected architectural firms and founders of RCLC Design, had one answer that sums it up best: "Today's technology is not only disrupting how we design, we're also seeing the dramatic impact it's having on how we're recruiting talent." In other words, when you've got two of the most challenging, fast-paced industries ever to develop, finding the right talent for your firm is tough. And it’s even tougher when employees are forced to adopt outdated technology that makes work less efficient. Plus, it's not just architectural or engineering professionals who are hard to come by – in the AEC industry, the disparity between jobs available and talent available is even wider.
AEC Recruitment Efforts
Once companies understand what they are missing in their recruitment efforts, then they need to determine how they are going to increase their skilled worker pool. One option is to partner with education centers or government initiatives to start programs to attract highly skilled workers. The greater your company grows, the greater the demand for skilled workers. However, the influx of new employees sometimes results in a massive retention challenge. As an example, some companies that are currently experiencing a skilled worker shortage are struggling to retain their previous employees, since fewer opportunities appear to be available to them. Also, be clear about your company's compensation as you are recruiting new people. If you don't believe the worker deserves more than you are currently offering, then find ways to offer other benefits that could improve your offer to them.
Recognizing Your Employees’ Contributions
There's an age-old adage: if you want to get the very best out of your employees, you must recognize them for a job well done. It's a tactic that many AEC firms have adopted, regardless of firm size. This gives the employee the reassurance that they're still respected. It also helps to set an example of how you expect others to perform.
If you aren't already doing so, it's time to put a whole new spin on your annual ‘Employee of the Year’ awards. In addition to awards given to the big fish on your team, why not give the less experienced workers credit? Celebrate the top 10% of your AEC team and use them as an example for how to drive growth for your firm. Reward their hard work, set a personal goal of a little extra effort for them each quarter, or surprise them with a nice gift to show you care.
If you want to get the right type of employee to stick around for a long time, show them they are important—and that doesn’t have to come in the form of money or awards. It can come in the form of looking someone in the eye when you tell them something or sending a quick text or email to say thanks.
Providing Meaningful Opportunities for Growth
There is a very real learning curve associated with a career in AEC. It's a unique career path and quite different than your typical 9-5 job. However, these important roles are the driving force for the economy and the individuals who work in it. Without the proper training and opportunities for growth, employees will quickly become frustrated and will begin searching for new opportunities elsewhere. You may have great workers that are just waiting for a chance to grow and achieve greater success within your organization. AEC firms must be willing to build and maintain a workforce that will learn and adapt with the constantly changing demands and state of the industry.
Learn More About Retaining Talent In AEC
There's a lot to learn about how to retain and attract top talent as a leader in the AEC industry, and these tips could help you attract the talent you need for your company. Even with an influx of new jobs, many companies struggle to retain their top talent and attract new recruits. When it comes to attracting new talent, companies must first understand why workers are leaving in the first place.
The AEC industry is only going to continue to grow, thanks to our advanced technology and the globalization of our workforce. You don't want to have to worry about hiring and keeping the talent you already have. By taking steps to train, prepare, and equip your workers for the future, you can ensure the successful growth of your business for many years to come.