Mix it Up:
Staff could be key to reaching more customers

Need to grow your customer base? Diversify your offerings. Looking for a safety net for investments? Diversify your portfolio. Want your marketing campaigns to succeed? Diversify your staff. That’s right, a diverse staff could be the key to reaching more customers. According to Adrianne Troilo, Managing Director, Administration for the American Society for Engineering Education, a mix of employee backgrounds leads to results that can resonate with a much wider audience.   A snapshot of the U.S. population shows aRead More

Shaking hands in office

In a tight labor market consider rehiring former employees

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross The largest complaint that I hear from most contractors is their inability to get good workers. That situation hasn’t improved with the current low unemployment rate, combined with what is fast becoming a shortage of immigrant personnel. One source you may not have considered are your former employees, often called “boomerang” workers. This is yet another reason to maintain a cordial relationship with employees when they leave for what they perceive as a better opportunity. Why notRead More

African American Construction Worker Carrying plywood

Are women the answer to construction’s labor shortage?

While a majority (79 percent) of construction firms are planning to expand their payrolls this year, nearly an equal percentage are concerned about their ability to hire qualified workers, according to survey results by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and Sage Construction and Real Estate. “With overall unemployment now at the lowest level in nearly 50 years, contractors are having an ever harder time finding workers with or without construction experience,” said Ken Simonson, ACG’s Chief Economist. “AverageRead More

welder with prism rainbow reflection

New Path to Skilled-Trade Jobs

Thanks to budget cuts and a growing emphasis on preparing teens to enter four-year colleges or universities, many trade-related programs have been reduced or cut completely from the public school system. This has shrunk the pool of qualified workers who can trade their caps and gowns for hard hats and steel toes upon graduation. One strategy delivering positive results is to tailor education that fits the prevailing college-bound mindset of today’s students. Such programs allow young people to have theRead More

Feature Photo for beyond basics blog

Beyond the basics: Comprehensive training for a better workforce

            It’s rare that employees come fully prepared to do the jobs for which they were hired. Skilled construction workers know how to move dirt, build buildings and put pipe in the ground, but do they know your expectations and how you approach projects? With comprehensive training, they will.             “I’ve talked with many companies that wonder whether training is worth it, considering that in today’s world, most employees only stay with a company for a relatively short time,” saidRead More

Young Adult holding blueprints.

Investing in the future: Partnering with education

by Katrina Kersch             The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce states, “The business community is the number one consumer of the public education system and therefore must be an involved and engaged stakeholder in the education of America’s children.”             It is not unusual to hear employers talk about partnerships with education as having no real return on investment (ROI). I have personally heard the following statements from employers: “I attended three career fairs and sawRead More

Worker in PPE cutting steel beam

Creating a safety culture:
Focus on more than just recording zero incidents

by Bob Fitzgerald, Sr. Risk Control Consultant at Willis Towers Watson Great news! Your project achieved a safety milestone with zero OSHA-recordable injuries. Mission accomplished, right? Not entirely. Most safety practitioners insist that there is always room for improvement with safety practices and procedures. While the OSHA Recordable Incidence Rate (RIR) is a common and important metric for many organizations, some industry groups rank this indicator too high. Avoiding OSHA-recordable injuries is always a good thing, but claiming victory basedRead More

Construction wages rising:
Firms paying more, but labor market remains tight

An Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) analysis showed construction wages on the rise, which seems to be attracting workers to return to the industry. The organization cautioned, however, that labor conditions still remain extremely tight. “Many firms are boosting pay and taking other steps to compete for a relatively small pool of available, qualified workers to hire,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s Chief Executive Officer. “While these measures appear to be luring construction workers back to the job market,Read More

Man painting outside

Adding the arts to technical skills can generate more productivity, innovation

by Stuart G. Walesh, PhD, PE In 1871, engineer James Watt patented a steam engine that produced continuous rotary motion. Steam engines both figuratively and literally drove the Industrial Revolution and introduced the expression “build a head of steam.” When critical pressure is applied to pistons, things happen. Construction-sector professionals and organizations must strive to achieve the same momentum by building a head of STEAM – that is, by adding the “A” to STEM, the already-developed skill levels of science,Read More

Money stacked

Tax Law Spurs Optimism

Tax reform took firm hold this year, affecting both individuals and businesses, including major changes for some in the construction industry as Congress passed and President Trump signed H.R. 1, The Tax Cut and Jobs Act, last December. This legislation, in most cases, increased take-home pay, lowered corporate tax rates and included provisions designed to increase expensing limits. The signature piece of the legislation may be a reduced corporate tax rate, which was slashed from 35 to 21 percent andRead More