Historically, training is one of the things companies curtail during tough times. Although halting training may be fiscally understandable, it’s short-sighted and hurts your program and the construction industry as a whole in the long run. This is the time to really focus on current projects and ensure people are working at their maximum capacity.
Proactive, successful companies have traditionally managed to maintain training through difficult times. It may not look the same and may be adapted, but progressive companies will not quit training. Why?
3 key reasons
The skills shortage won’t disappear. Before COVID-19, the construction industry was already facing an estimated shortage of one million skilled workers by 2023. In August 2019, the Associated General Contractors of America found that 80% of contractors were having difficulty finding qualified craft professionals.
Training and retaining our workforce must remain a priority or we’ll be facing an even more extreme shortage after the crisis. ManpowerGroup reports that skilled craft professionals and construction laborers remain in the top 10 most difficult roles to fill.
Training increases productivity. Doing targeted, job site specific training helps get workers re-engaged and increases productivity. Concerns about job security and the industry are prevalent across the workforce – training helps combat those feelings of apprehension.Continued training during this time also builds your sense of community in your workplace culture. The McKinsey Engineering Construction and Building Materials Practice points out that “balancing performance and health is critical at any point – and it’s much more important in these turbulent times.”
It’s strategic. To be an employer of choice in construction is all about training and retaining your workforce. Instead of “turning off the electricity to save on electricity when times get tough,” it an opportunity to be more strategic.
Companies have typically already invested significantly in establishing workforce development programs to recruit. During times when companies are not bringing new people in, trying to maintain the employees who you may have already invested in with a year or two of training is tactically important.
This momentary slump cannot affect the construction industry’s vision of the future. As an essential business, the world needs construction. We remain the industry that builds America.
Editor’s note: Rachel Burris is the Communications Manager at the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). This article is excerpted from a blog post and reprinted with permission from “Breaking Ground: The NCCER Blog” at blog.nccer.org.