BY: KEITH ELDREDGE, CPA, RKL, ABC KEYSTONE 2022 CHAIR OF THE BOARD
I’ve been in the workforce long-enough to see different careers become hot and then cool off. When I was coming out of school, the big career was nursing. The employers were offering signing bonuses, and people coming out of school had their choice of places they wanted to work. Construction has had its employment issues for longer than any other profession I can remember. Guidance counselors pushed everyone to college, and no one was talking about careers in the trades, which is a shame because of the things you learn from working in construction. You learn to think on your feet, adapt to changing circumstances, and discover how to solve problems that seem insurmountable.
I come from a long line of construction workers. I have learned more things from my grandfathers and uncles about building, thinking on your feet, and problem solving then I did during all my years in school. This is why I love working with contractors. They are thinkers, problem solvers, and risk takers. They push me to challenge myself and my abilities to find solutions.
Based on a recent survey, only 9% of Generation Z are interested in a career in construction. Why are there so few individuals interested in a career with exciting challenges and advancement opportunities? I think it is the perception of the industry. Construction has the perception that it involves long, hard hours with low pay and is a white, male-dominated industry, with few opportunities for women and minorities to move ahead. The poor perception of the industry needs to change to entice the next generation to jump into construction. This must start with us, the business owners and those working in the industry.
A career in construction offers so many positive benefits. What other careers can say that every day brings new challenges, the opportunity to work with advanced technology, and a chance to see your work put into physical motion? Those that work in the industry talk about the jobs they worked on with great sense of pride, and based on this latest survey, it is one of the professions with the highest level of job satisfaction.
With the level of understaffing in the construction industry, the opportunities for anyone interested in this profession include the chance to climb as high as one might wish. Whether you have a degree or not, there are so many jobs available in this industry.
We need to get people excited about joining this industry, and this includes not only the students in school, but everyone. We need to work with the legislators for criminal justice reform to get people back into the workforce, and we need to reach out to vets looking to transition to civilian life, minorities, women, and anyone who is under-employed.
ABC Keystone is working each of these areas to help bring individuals into this profession. We need everyone to help make the changes to make improvements in the labor shortage. Let’s celebrate careers in construction month by finding a way to get involved and help make construction a more attractive career for everyone.
Finally, don’t forget to get out and vote. This election holds many consequences to the industry and your business.
Posted October 5, 2022