Today’s engineering and construction (E&C) industry talent challenges are not new. However, we are at a critical inflection point: Ten thousand baby boomers are retiring daily across the U.S., leaving behind an incredible void of knowledge and experience — particularly in the engineering and construction space. Baby boomers created billion-dollar companies over the past several decades and they are now handing over these firms to younger generations, including the millennials.
Last year, millennials surpassed the baby boom generation as the nation’s largest living cohort and now make up 34% of the nation’s workforce. Firms across all industries are vying to attract and retain this young generation, which is adding more pressure and competition to the E&C industry’s acute talent challenge. Compounding this dilemma is an industry that’s moving toward progressively bigger and more complex projects with higher risk profiles and new delivery mechanisms — all of which require innovative leadership skills and new technical capabilities to make E&C companies succeed in the future.
It is within this context that we present a number of approaches and solutions to confronting the talent challenge from different angles. There is no magic bullet to solve this problem anytime soon. But having a better understanding of important issues that today’s construction workforce faces — and being open to hearing what employees (of all ages) are looking for in an employer — is essential to winning this battle over time.
CEO, FMI Corporation
Editor’s Note (Sabine Hoover)
Welcome to FMI’s first 2016 Quarterly issue. In this publication, we cover a number of relevant business topics that relate to the E&C industry’s most important resource: its people. The topics covered range from how to build a culture of engagement to developing your next generation of field leaders to preventing opioid abuse in your firm, to name just a few.
Knowing that the talent challenge is complex and not easily resolved, we have identified four key industry issues and included various solutions to these problems. These solutions and strategies are intended to help and inform readers as they deal with the people issue in their daily conversations and decision-making. This is by no means an exhaustive list of solutions but instead a springboard for starting an industry-wide conversation on how to tackle the talent challenge.
The industry issues and associated solutions are as follows:
ISSUE: Attracting and retaining a young workforce
• Understanding the millennials: myths and truths
• How to build a culture of engagement across all generations
• The new accountability of peak boards in influencing the talent challenge
• Re-inventing your bonus pool structure: a new model
ISSUE: Lack of skilled workers
• Five ways to start preparing your field leaders for the big crew change
• Key considerations for hiring versus acquiring talent
ISSUE: Retiring boomers and succession planning
• How field leaders can break into the succession plan
ISSUE: The increase in human risks
• How to develop a culture of transparency and trust to prevent opioid abuse
Our goal with this issue is to help you, the reader, make informed choices and develop effective strategies for filling the talent void, attracting and retaining millennial workers, and creating an environment where your company can continue growing and prospering well into the future.