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Recruitment and Retention Practices in Construction


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1 RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION IN CONSTRUCTION By STACI FAWN BARTLETT A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Staci Fawn Bartlett

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3 To my mother and father, whose sacrifices can only be realized through my accomplishments in life--may this be one of the many reasons why your sacrifices were made--I love you both with all my heart.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank Dr. Jimmie Hinze, for all his time and efforts in helping me through this research. I would have never been able to complete such a paper wi thout his constant input and active participation. I woul d also like to thank Dr. Leon Wetherington and Dr. Douglas Lucas, for participating as committee members. I would like to thank Dr. R. Raymond Issa, for allowing me to enter the graduate program. My time at the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction has been an amazing experience. Finally, I must thank my family a nd close friends, for always supporting me in my endeavors.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........7 LIST OF FIGURES................................................................................................................ .........8 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..............9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................11 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................................13 Construction Labor Shortage..................................................................................................13 Image of the Construction Industry and Workforce...............................................................14 Recruitment.................................................................................................................... .........14 Training....................................................................................................................... ............15 Retention...................................................................................................................... ...........17 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY...........................................................................................18 Compilation of the Survey......................................................................................................19 Evaluation of Data............................................................................................................. .....20 4 RESULTS........................................................................................................................ .......22 The Company.................................................................................................................... ......22 Labor Shortage................................................................................................................. .......24 Company Recruitment............................................................................................................26 Hourly Worker Recruitment............................................................................................27 Salary Employee Recruitment.........................................................................................29 Company Retention.............................................................................................................. ..30 Hourly Worker Retention................................................................................................30 Salary Employee Retention.............................................................................................31 Company Size................................................................................................................... ......32 5 CONCLUSIONS....................................................................................................................45 6 RECOMMENDATIONS........................................................................................................47 Recommendations to the Industry..........................................................................................47 Recommendations to Researchers..........................................................................................48

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6 APPENDIX A INTERNATIONAL REVIEW BOARD SURVEY APPROVAL LETTER.........................51 B SURVEY COVER LETTER..................................................................................................52 C SURVEY......................................................................................................................... .......53 LIST OF REFERENCES............................................................................................................. ..57 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................58

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Business Sectors Represented by Respondents.................................................................34 4-2 Business Sectors Represented by Respondents.................................................................34 4-3 Annual Revenue by Respondent........................................................................................34 4-4 Respondent Companys Total Hourly Workers.................................................................35 4-5 Respondent Companys Total Salary Employees..............................................................35 4-6 Age Range of Hourly Workers of Respondent..................................................................35 4-7 Incentives Offered to Hourly Workers..............................................................................39 4-8 New Hires of Hourly Work ers per Year by Respondents..................................................40 4-9 Respondents Experiences with Hiring Salary Employees................................................43 4-10 Salary Employees Hired in the Past Three Years by Respondents....................................43 4-11 Percentage of Hourly Worker Turnov er within First Six Months of Hire.........................43 4-12 Percentage of Salary Employ ees Retained Over Three Years...........................................44

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1 Company Position of Respondent......................................................................................34 4-2 Respondent Experience of Hourly Worker Shortage.........................................................35 4-3 Respondent Experience with Salary Employee Shortage..................................................36 4-4 Respondents Experience with Ch anges in Workforce Demographics.............................36 4-5 Respondents Company Memberships..............................................................................37 4-6 Company Membership Experience with Recruitment.......................................................37 4-7 Respondent Promotion Effort s of Construction Careers...................................................38 4-8 Respondent Hiring Experien ces of Hourly Employees.....................................................38 4-9 Respondents Recruitment Efforts Leve l of Success in Hiring Hourly Workers..............39 4-10 Respondents Success in Hiri ng Quality Hourly Workers................................................39 4-11 Respondents Experiences with Hiring Salary Employees................................................40 4-12 Respondents Recruitment Efforts of Salary Employees...................................................41 4-13 Respondents Success in Hiri ng Quality Salary Employees..............................................41 4-13a Subcontractor Experience Hi ring Quality Salary Employees............................................42 4-13b General Contractor Experien ce Hiring Salary Employees................................................42 4-14 Respondent Pay Range for Hourly Workers......................................................................43 4-15 Respondents Opinion of Hourly Worker Pay...................................................................44

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9 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Bu ilding Construction RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION IN CONSTRUCTION By Staci Fawn Bartlett May 2007 Chair: Jimmie Hinze Cochair: Leon Wetherington Major: Building Construction The current construction labor force of the United States is insufficient to meet the increasing demands of the industry. This is eviden t in all trades and is experienced on projects throughout the country and is affecting the indus try in a negative way, resulting in increased costs and project delays. Since construction is the second largest industry in the United States, it is important to not ignore this issue. It is genera lly understood that Hispanic immigr ants comprise the majority of the South Florida labor force and this is imp acting the industry in many ways. These workers have varying communication and skill levels, causing the industry to implement necessary changes in how it operates. The image of the construction industry as an employment option is becoming less desirable due to the increasing belief that everyone must go to college. Because of the lack of experience and general understanding about the construc tion industry as an employment option, many people, especially high school students who are not interested in going to college, are missing out on an opportunity to be part of building the infrastr ucture in which they live. If high school students could see that working in construction is about being a creative, problem solver who creates unique projects, maybe there would not be a labor shortage in construction.

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10 The industry needs to focus on three main aspects of the construction workforce: recruitment, training, and retention to devise solutions for the shor tage. This research evaluates the current state of the workforce focusing on Sout h Florida contractors a nd specialty contractors to identify efforts in recruitmen t and retention. Surveys were us ed to evaluate how construction companies obtained their labor force and what activities are in place for recruitment. Through the data obtained from the surveys, the report outlines current efforts for improving the labor force shortage and provides s uggestions for recruitmen t and retention of the construction trade labor force. Through active recognition of th e issue and participation in implementing a solution, the labor force of South Fl orida can be restored as an effective asset of the industry.

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11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The construction industry is volatile with peaks and falls in employment that coincide with the state of the economy. Its volatility has much to do with the well known fact that construction is the second largest industry, next to the US government. Even if the industry is booming, without a large skilled labor for ce it cannot satisfy the demands. The industry is changing, especially in the ge neral composition of its most valuable asset: the labor force. A once primarily white male group, the labor force is becoming dominated by minorities and now women are choosing construction as a career. This presents many challenges including language barriers and ethical dilemmas all of which require new considerations on how the industry recruits, trains, and most importantly retains its workforce. Attitudes need to be changed and practices and procedures need to be revised. Actions are being put forth by many companies in the construc tion industry with some being more successful than others. The purpose of this research is to find out what construction companies are doing from all facets of the industry to retain their workforce and how these practices may convince people to pursue a career as a sk illed construction trade worker. In todays society, there are many careers in construction; however many consider that there are better jobs outside of the construction industr y. The jobs may not pay and they may not really inspire or motivate a pers on to have a purpose or goal, but they offer benefits health insurance, a family environment, stock packag es and 401K options that are important for todays society in terms of having a family a nd living the American Dream. For management positions in construction these benefits are usually a given, but for laborers and skilled workers, these benefits are not always offered.

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12 In terms of the construction industry, if the ma in goal is to recruit a large workforce, one that is skilled and knowledgeable and can produce a quality project, then the industry will have to start focusing on what they can offer the averag e American worker. If someone has to put in time training for a position, then the industry need s to make an investment on the workers time and efforts. The common attitude of the i ndustry in terms of trai ning is a negative and pessimistic one. To say a company is reluctant to invest in someone because they will most likely leave to work with anot her company implies something about the company who has that view. If an investment is made in a person, taki ng into consideration all their needs, then why would that worker leave once training is complete? Competition exists in the construction industry due to the lack of skilled laborers, but a worker who feels valued will stick with the company. There is more to a job than a payche ck, and the industry needs to start to understand this. If the industry can focus on convincing society that it understands its needs in terms of employment and career options, th en more high school students w ho are not interested in the challenge of college can choose the challenge of enrolling in training programs and become an asset to the companies that invest in them. Construction companies and training programs can join together and discover what the workers wa nts and needs are and form ulate a plan that will help to develop a valuable workforce. This research focuses on the South Flor ida construction industry and the current recruitment and retention practices of these companies and how they view the labor force. Through surveys this research will give insight for other companie s to follow and implement to rejuvenate the workforce and the industry.

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13 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Construction Labor Shortage The construction industry is the second la rgest US employer a nd it is facing an unprecedented nationwide shortage of skilled labor : a construction companys most important asset. The United States Constr uction industry shortage of skilled labor was predicted more than two decades ago (Srour et al. 2006). A 1983 report by the Business Round Table described a skilled labor shortage as one of the main cha llenges the industry would be facing in the last decade of the past century which was attributed to the contractors lack of interest in training and the owners ignorance (Srour et al. 2006). A Construction Industry Institute study showed that 75% of pa rticipating contractors were experiencing shortages and a Business Roundtab le Construction Committee found that 25% of their members projects encountered cost overruns and schedule delays caused by labor shortfalls (Garrity 1999). In a more recent study in 2001 by the Construction Users Round Table, the skilled labor shortage was view ed by owner companies as the mo st critical problem facing the industry with 82% of the responding companies experiencing shortages of skilled workers on their projects. The study revealed that all project types were aff ected, but that electricians, pipe fitters, and welders were the most critical trad es experiencing a shortage (Srour et al. 2006). An article titled No easy solution to constr uction labor shortage by Kathleen Garrity of the Associated Builders and Contra ctors stated the reason for the s hortage was due to the view of the industry that building thi ngs with your hands was undesirable, something you would do if you were unable to do anything else for a career. High school stude nts surveyed about attractive careers listed construction 249th out of 250 possible occupations. Th ey stated that they viewed a construction career as dirty, unin teresting work done in bad weat her by not very bright people.

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14 (Garrity 1999). A 1999 Construction Industry In stitute study titled Key Workforce Challenges Facing the American Construction Industry: An interim assessment stated the workforce problem is due to the industrys poor image, an undesirable working environment, the need for workers to relocate for each new project, and a career path that s eems unclear (Srour et al. 2006). Image of the Construction Industry and Workforce A study done in 1972 on the sociology of the construction industry workforce demonstrated that the construc tion industry was distinctive in the uniqueness of the job and its resulting personal satisfaction for the worker when compared to the industrial industry. Construction is an industry in which each proj ect (consisting of a unique location and often oneof-a-kind design) has special char acteristics. Each project provides its own challenges as the design materializes as a tangible product through the e fforts of many different crafts who install various types of materials. Construction is fl exible by nature requiring decision making at all levels of the workforce; this opportunity to make decisions is one of the many reasons why construction is a satisfying career (Borcherding 1972). The industry as a whole needs to concentrat e on improving the image of construction, but it also needs to focus on putting forth a maximum effort on improving training capacity, enhancing wages, benefits, and working condition s (Garrity 1999). Th e construction industry may find it difficult to fill positions and find poten tial workers with all th e necessary skills given the poor image of the industry (Srour et al. 2006). A report issued in 2001 by the Construction Users Round Table attributed the problem of the wo rkforce shortage to se veral factors including poor retention, poor training, and relativ ely low wages (Srour et al. 2006). Recruitment The Bureau of Labor and Statistics with the US Department of Labor has estimated that the construction industry needs to attract 240,000 workers each year to replace those who are retiring

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15 or leaving the industry and to allow for some growth in capacity (Gar rity 1999). A 2004 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated a need to replace almost 1,500,000 construction trade worker jobs by 2010 with a subsequent demand fo r new construction laborers increasing by over 100,000 (Srour et al. 2006). In 1999, the average age of a construction worker was 47 years and is climbing today (Garrity 1999). The construction industry is looking at a future workforce that will be mainly composed of minorities and women, something that is very uncharacteristic of the traditional compilation of the industry and will require the industry to provide training in dealing with a diverse workforce (Garrity 1999). An industry that has been inwardly focused in operating and solving problems will need to look outside for solutions to the current labor shortage (Borcherding 1972). Recruitment of construction workers will be facilitated by improving the image and awareness of construction trade careers by en couraging more young people who are not planning to go to college to consider a career in constr uction focusing recruitment efforts on parents and school career counselors as well as high school st udents is the best way to accomplish this (Poole et al. 2005). This can be furt her facilitated by an aggressive and creative recr uitment program and more importantly, and an incr ease in wage rates. The lack of recruitment of students in training programs is attributable to the low opinion of the trades and low wages (Brown Jr., Markus 1988). Training Much of the workforce remains unskilled or under-skilled, theref ore training must be considered as an option when staffing for a project (Srour et al. 2006). Many people who decide to go into a construction training program decide to take on a different career path before or after completion of the program due to the low pay in the industry, thus resulting in low annual employment rates in the construction indu stry (Brown Jr., Markus 1988). Other reasons

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16 for high dropout rates include cu ltural barriers and economic bur dens due to the long term commitment and investment of apprenticeship pr ograms (Poole et al. 2005). In an assessment study done in Arizona concerning the construction industry work force, the apprentices who completed training programs only accounted for th irty-three to 50% of the number of qualified workers needed during the next decade (Poole et al. 2005). A solution for the drop-out rate of apprenticeship and training programs was to im prove prequalification assessments of the applicants (Poole et al. 2005). Beyond the drop-out rate and re cruitment issues of traini ng programs, training programs are not being conformed to the needs of the industr y; there is a lack of consistency in training through apprenticeship programs which does not produce the same quality of trained workers (Poole et al. 2005). Major discrepancies exist in terms of the curriculum of training programs from the view of the educators and industry memb ers, and this is resulting in a lack of good craftsmen. Contractors need to improve on the job trai ning programs by incorporating classroom and shop training resulting in a competency-based program (Brown Jr., Markus 1988). The industry uses an age old system of on the job training, alon g with classroom instruct ion as the best way to pass along knowledge (Garrity 1999). Training programs of unions have affected the efforts of open shop sectors in training skilled construction workers. Unions offer an incentive in that employers are guaranteed that they will get a worker that has the necessary skills to complete the job task at hand. Traditionally, unions have limited the number of new apprentices they accept into their programs, training only enough for the anticipa ted needs of union employers. Unions only represent a quarter of the constr uction industry and ther efore they do not have the capacity to

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17 train enough workers for the entire industry and its current needs (G arrity 1999). As a result, the open shop sector has had to make a commitment to train the thousands of workers that are needed. Associated Builders and Contractor s developed the Wheels of Learning program over twenty years ago as a training solution. The progr ams standard curriculum can be used for task training, apprenticeship training, a nd cross training of constructi on trade workers (Garrity 1999). A 1994 effort by Associated Builders and C ontractors with twenty-two other trade associations and major open-shop industrial contr actors resulted in the creation of the National Center for Construction Education and Research to maximize the money and resources spent on construction craft training. The effort has resu lted in an improvement in training that has brought well rounded and highly qualified journeym en to go on and build 70% of construction projects in America (Garrity 1999). Yet, this is not enough. Retention Even after training these work ers successfully, the industr y cannot retain the skilled workers and regularly loses them to other occupa tions. In the disserta tion written in 2004 titled An Assessment of Implementation Requirement s for the Tier II Construction Workforce Strategy by M.P. Pappas, solutions listed for the skilled labor shortage ranged from increased wages and other incentives such as guarant eed overtime, training incentives to employing foreign labor or outsourcing work to forei gn sources and reducing the workforce demands through implementation of automation and technol ogy (Srour et al. 2006). The industry must take a serious look at how workers are paid and what benefits are offered for them and their families. Workers want good wages and benefits, scheduled overtime, safe and pleasant working conditions, per diems, travel pay, and other perks (G arrity 1999).

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18 CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Initially, the research of the literature was focused on the current labor shortage of South Florida and the training efforts of the industry. While conducting the lit erature review, some information on recruitment and retention practic es in the industry was also obtained. The research was initially intended to focus on the w hole process of attracting people to work in the industry, training the workers so th ey are capable of being valuab le and skilled, and then on how the industrys current practices to retain people that have ch osen a career in construction. Because of the varied demogra phics of the workforce and the fact that there is such a critical shortage, the research focus began to shift. Training progr ams are provided through vocational and technical schools, union organiza tions, and trade organizations, such as the Associated Builders and Contract ors. Without sufficient numb ers of people interested in pursuing a career that requires the training, the programs are havi ng vastly diminished value. Retention practices are often futile due to the fact that there are many jobs available and it has been found that many workers currently in the industry will leave a company because another company pays a few cents more per hour. Even if the company they were working for had a great culture, just a few cents per hour extra can entice many workers to forget their loyalty to the firm and move on. Companies often feel that they cannot afford to raise its pay whenever a worker threatens to leave. This is despite the fact that construction work er pay has declined in recent years. The pay range for workers in the industry today is low compared to the wages of the 1970s and this directly affects the labor for ce causing the shortage due to general disinterest of people in seeking a career in construction. Recruitment is required to increase the industry workforce. The current public opinion of cons truction is a false one of misunderstanding and prejudice. The industry is responsible for bei ng an advocate for construction. The construction

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19 industry is suffering from an aging workforce, one in which some workers have been noted to be 70 years old. The industry needs a fresh new gr oup of young people who have the capability to become skilled in any of the trades or even for management positions. Programs are in place through some of the trade/industr y organizations, but more effort needs to be put forth by the company owners doing business in construction. Therefore the topic of the research changed focus to determine if the industry is currently ma king an effort to recru it workers for the industry and to determine what type of retention programs they may have it place. Compilation of the Survey A survey was developed to find out about c onstruction companies practices related to worker recruitment and retention. The survey solicited information on the demographics of construction firms in South Florid a, company perceptions of the cu rrent shortage of labor, areas where the shortage exists in te rms of hourly employees (unskilled workers and skilled workers) and salary employees (superintendents, project managers, estimators, and accountants), and the extent that the shortage impacted the compan ies. The survey also asked about company recruitment plans that were implemented for sala ry employees and hourly employees, and if they felt their efforts are successful. Questions are also asked about retent ion practices of the companies. Companies that had a written recr uitment or retention plan were asked if the company would be willing to provide a c opy for the purpose of the research study. In the development of the survey, several iterations were completed before the survey was in its final form. The initial survey was an expl oration of what types of questions may be asked to obtain the necessary information on recruitmen t and retention. The survey was eventually divided up into sections with separate subsections for salary and hourly employees. Several questions were asked of salary and hourly em ployees under recruitment and retention practices of the company. Some question and answer options were different in the subsections due to the

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20 differences between salary and hourly employees and how and where companies may focus their efforts for recruitment and retention. After about ten iterations of survey development, the final survey was completed. The final version of th e survey contained over 50 questions, most of which solicited a multiple choice response. A cove r letter to explain the overall purpose of the study was also prepared. The survey and cover letter were submitted fo r approval by the University of Floridas Institutional Research Board (IRB). Upon approval of the su rvey by the IRB, the survey population was defined. Construction company na mes and addresses were obtained through the online databases of the Florida chapters of the Associated Builders a nd Contractors (ABC) and the Associated General Contractor s (AGC). For the ABC, all cont ractors located south of Stuart were used, with annual volumes of busin ess ranging from $100,000 to over $500,000,000. The contractors chosen from the AGC were also locat ed south of Stuart. The company data on the AGC members contained no informa tion in terms of volume of busin ess. A total of 500 surveys were mailed to the South Florida companies, and these firms represented all major sectors of the construction industry. The survey population in cluded most of the Sout h Florida construction firms that are either a member of the ABC and/or the AGC. Evaluation of Data Upon obtaining the completed survey responses, data were coded for analysis with the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The analysis revealed the current recruitment and retention practices and perc eived levels of success with th ese practices. No companies provided a recruitment or retent ion plan with their responses. Using the compiled data, an analysis determin ed the current efforts of companies in the industry in recruitment to increase the workfor ce and its retention pract ices in keeping these recruited workers in the industry. This information was comp iled in the results chapter of the

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21 paper to be used as insight for the industry to use to solve the current labor shortage in the construction industry.

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22 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS The findings of this research are based on 72 completed surveys that were received. A total of 500 surveys were mailed out, representing a response rate of 14.4%. The findings will be presented for each of the topic areas of the su rvey, including company demographics, company labor shortage experience, company r ecruitment, and company retention. The Company The first portion of the survey solicited demographic information about the responding companies and the composition of their labor for ces. Many business sectors were represented by the respondents, with the commercial sector be ing addressed by over 80% of the respondents (Table 4-1). Note that the ta ble shows all of the business sect ors represented by the respondents with many respondents working in more than one s ector. Thus, the results show that 80% of the respondents did at least some work in the commer cial sector. As a resu lt of this method of compilation, the percentages of a ll the business sectors add up to more than 100%. Those sectors categorized as other included public sector design/build, medical, design/assist, bridges, power-line construction a nd maintenance: distribution and tr ansmission, hi-end construction, site work, utility, and transportation. Many business classifications we re represented by the responde nts, with the subcontractor classification being addressed by over 50% of the respondents (Table 4-2). As shown in Table 4-2, respondents often represented more than one business classifi cation. Specifically, respondents classified as subcont ractors may also be represente d among specialty contractors as they are considered to be the same for some respondents. Respondents classified as general contractors represented more th an 40% of respondents (Table 4-2). As with respondents represented as subcontractors, re spondents represented as general contractors may also represent

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23 such categories as construction management or de sign/build. As a result of this compilation, the percentages of all the business cl assifications add up to more th an 100%. Those classifications categorized as other included manufacturing, consultation services, highway construction, concrete pumping service, and heavy equipment. Respondents were asked to provide informa tion on their firms annual revenue which ranged from $1.2 million to over $8 billion (Table 43). This range consists of respondents who represented the business classifications as shown in Table 4-2, resulting in a large difference between the mean and median annual revenues. This is due to the large representation by respondents as subcontractors who typically have revenues that do not reach levels as those typically exhibited by large general contractors. Therefore, the me dian value is more descriptive of the typical respondents annual revenue. Tw o respondents reported annual revenues in the billions while the majority of respondents had reve nues in the millions of do llars. This type of distribution of annual revenues would be e xpected when respondents consist of both subcontractors and general contractors. Respondents completing the survey were asked to indicate their pos ition in the company they represented. The categories noted were pres ident, vice president, se nior project manager, project manager, and other. Respondents clas sified as president were represented by over 40% of respondents and over 30% were classified as vice pres idents (Figure 4-1) Those positions categorized as other, comprising 25% of respondents, included positions such as administrator, branch manager, business developmen t, chief financial officer, controller, director, human resources director, office ma nager, and secretary/treasurer. To determine the composition of each responding companys work force and employee base, questions were asked about the number of hourly workers and salary employees the

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24 respondents company employed. In reference to hourly workers, the range was zero to 5,000 hourly workers with a median va lue of 60 hourly workers (Table 4-4). The mean value of 216 hourly workers represents the large difference ex hibited between the respondents classified as subcontractors and the respondents classified as general contract ors. One general contractor subcontracted all the work and had no hourly workers. The number of salary employees of res pondent companies ranged from zero to 6,000 employees with a median value of 23 employees (Table 4-5). The mean value of 162 employees represents the large diffe rence in the needs of respondents cl assified as subcontractors (fewer employees) and respondents classified as general contractors. A minimum value of zero salary employees may be typical of a respondent clas sified as a subcontra ctor who designates a superintendent as an hourly wo rker rather than a salary em ployee as is common among some general contractors. Respondents were asked to provide informa tion about the age of their hourly workers which revealed a range from 17 years of age to 83 years of age (Table 4-6). The mean and median values were similar, differing by no more than one year. The oldest workers of the respondents were 60 years old (median). Accord ing to The Construction Chart Book, the median age of construction workers was 37.5 years (CPWR 2006). Labor Shortage Information was sought about the much-publ icized construction worker shortage. Respondents were asked about thei r experience related to the availability of hourly workers and salary employees. More than 50% of responde nts indicated that they were experiencing a shortage of labor. In terms of hourly workers, the experiences about the availability of workers were quite different for unskilled workers and skilled workers with ove r 50% of the respondents expressing no shortage of unskilled workers and more than 50% of the respondents expressing an

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25 extreme shortage of skilled workers (Figure 4-2). In terms of a slight shortage of workers, more respondents showed a higher percentage for unskilled workers than skilled workers. The percentage was higher for skilled workers in the no shortage category than the slight shortage category, but both were surpa ssed in the extreme shortage category. Respondents were asked to de scribe their experience about the shortage of salary employees. As with hourly workers, they were asked to describe the experience about the availability of individuals to fill six typical positions. For each position, they were to indicate if there was no shortage, a slight shortage, or an extreme shor tage. The highest percent for an extreme shortage was designated for superint endents, a value of over 30% (Figure 4-3). The extreme shortage was next noted for projec t managers, estimators, and assistant project managers/project engineers. There was esse ntially no extreme shortage of accountants or purchasing agents. Among the subcontracto r respondents, the ex treme shortage of superintendents was noted by 41% of the res pondents, while for general contractors 23.3% identified the shortage of supe rintendents as being extreme. The demographics of the labor force have changed considerably for many respondents. For example, more than 60% of the respondents stated that there are less skilled workers (45 respondents) in their workforce and more Hispan ic workers (44 respondents) in the workforce (Figure 4-4). A total of 29 res pondents stated that they have e xperienced more Hispanic workers and less skilled workers, but th ere is no correlation to support a relationship. Other respondents expressed that the workforce had older work ers, more women, and less than 10% of the respondents stated that the demographics of the workforce had not changed. Those demographics categorized as other were less unskilled workers, more Haitians, more Islanders, more licensed workers, and fewer workers willing to perform work as required.

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26 Company Recruitment One section of the survey focused on company recruitment efforts. Information was sought to determine if company membership in industry associations he lped respondents benefit in their recruitment efforts. Respondents were requested to state if th ey were members of any industry associations. Nearly 70% of the respon dents were members of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and over 50% of the re spondents were members of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) (Figure 4-5). This level of membersh ip might be expected as the mailing list for the survey was developed from the ABC and AGC directories. Organizations categorized as other were Contractors A ssociation of South Fl orida (11 respondents), Electrical Contractors Association (2 respondents), Mechanical Contra ctors Association (two respondents), with one member in the American Concrete and Paving Association, American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc., American Society of Concrete Contractors, Building Officials Association of Florida, Concrete Sawing and Dr illing Association, Construction Industry of South Florida, Electri cal Contractors Associat ion, Federated Electrical Contractors, Florida Fire Sprinkler Associa tion, Florida Transportati on Builders Association, Florida Engineering Society, The Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRSCA) International Electrotechni cal Commission, Jack Miller Network, National Utility Contractors Associatio n (NUCA), National Fire Sprinkler Association NAPA, NECA, NFIB, NRCA, PHCC, Tilt-up Concre te Association, and Florida Electrical. The data were divided to analyze responses regarding member organizations and the efforts of these organizations to recruit (Fig ure 4-6). For respondents who were members of ABC, 79% said that the ABC did promote recr uitment activities. Of those respondents, 57.5% stated that the ABC was the most active in promoting recruitment activities. An equal percentage of respondents (39%) stat ed that they participated in the recruitment activities of the

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27 ABC and had experienced a direct be nefit from their participation in those activities. In terms of the AGC, 87% of respondents stat ed that their membership orga nization promoted recruitment activities. Of those responde nts, 56% stated that AGC was the most active in promoting recruitment activities. A total of 46.7% of respondents who were members of AGC stated that they participated in AGC r ecruitment activities, and of those respondents, 34.4% had experienced a direct benefit from that participation. In addition to the direct r ecruitment of workers, the survey asked about individual company efforts in promoting employment opportuni ties in the constructi on industry in order to bring awareness to the community. Over 30% of the respondents stated that they promoted the construction profession in local newspaper ads (Figure 4-7). Online ad s, company sponsored events, school career fairs, and ads on television were also utilized to promote the construction industry. Note that the chart shows all of th e promotion efforts of the respondents with many respondents utilizing more than one method. Pr omotion of opportunities in the other category included internet websites; high school co-ops and outreaches; military, college, and general career fairs; radio; universit ies; ads on company vehicles; college employment postings; recruiting through current employees; workforc e alliances; labor agents; and construction toolbox kits for elementary and middle schools. Hourly Worker Recruitment Additional questions were focused on recruitmen t and hiring experiences related to hourly workers. Experiences were quite varied depe nding on whether the work ers were skilled or unskilled. Companies generally had no difficulty in hiring unskilled work ers but found it very difficult to hire skilled workers (Figure 4-8). In the hire with some difficulty category, experiences were about the same.

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28 In terms of recruitment, 30% of the respondent s stated that recruitment of hourly workers through word of mouth was the most successful me thod in hiring hourly employees (Figure 4-9). The recruitment avenues with no success in cluded high schools, community colleges, union organizations, and industry publications. Recru itment avenues in the other category that respondents found to be ver y successful included Recruiting through current employees Headhunters Radio advertisements Now Hiring signs on company vehicles Other activities that solicited little/some su ccess included using recruiters, referrals, referral bonuses, and through current workforce. One respondent stated reputation as a recruitment tool. Respondents were asked if they had success in hiring quality hourly workers. There was no dramatic difference in the experiences of hiri ng unskilled and skilled workers (Figure 4-10). Generally, most (nearly 50%) resp ondents had some success in hiring quality hourly workers, whether skilled or unskilled. Ther e is a slight indication that the little success efforts were noted more with skilled workers and that the very successful efforts were noted more with unskilled workers. The survey asked the respondent s to state whether or not they offered incentives to new hourly worker hires. More respondents offere d incentives for new skilled worker hires than unskilled worker hires (Table 4-7). This reflec ts the overwhelming need for skilled workers as over 50% of the respondents experienced a significant shortage (Figure 4-2). When asked about the number of new worker hires, respondents indi cated that one to 700 hourly workers were hired per year (Table 48). The typical res pondent hired 32 workers (median) each year.

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29 Salary Employee Recruitment A series of questions were asked about salary employee. When asked about their experiences with recruiting and hiring salary em ployees, over 40% of the respondents stated that superintendents, project managers, and estimators were very difficult to hire and about 50% of the respondents described accountants and purch asing agents as not difficult to hire (Figure 4-11). Over 50% of the respondents ex perienced some difficu lty in hiring assistant project managers (APM) and project engineers (PE). Nearly 30% of the respondents stated their efforts in recrui ting salary employees by word of mouth proved to be very successful (Fi gure 4-12). Over 40% of the respondents gave additional recruitment strategies, in the other category that were very successful. Those strategies regarded as ver y successful by respondents in cluded using headhunters and recruiters. In terms of recruiters, not all respondents experienced the same success, with respondents expressing a range of experience from no success to little/some success. Some success had been experienced with internally promoting and using cu rrent contacts. One respondent used an internal employee referral bonus. The different recruiting techniques had varyi ng levels of success for different salary employee positions. The experience of respondent s in hiring salary employees, specifically superintendents, assistant project managers/proje ct engineers, project managers, and estimators had been similar with a normal distribution exhibiting that most respondents found some success in making quality hires fo r those positions (Figure 4-13). When the data was analyzed further, it was discovered that subc ontractors and general contractors had different experience s in hiring quality salary employ ees. This is attributable to the differing needs to hire salary employees by subcontractors and genera l contractors. When comparing Figure 4-13a and Figur e 4-13b, general contractors e xhibited a greater amount of

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30 success of hiring in all positions (over 30%) than subcontractors (over 10%). Subcontractors experienced an increasing amount of success in hiring estimators while contractors found some success. Most respondents stated that they employed the techniques of offering hiring incentives to salary employees with more incentives being o ffered to project managers than estimators (Table 4-9). Since nearly 50% of respondents found hiring project managers as very difficult (Figure 4-11), offering incentives may have a direct relationship with the success of hiring quality project managers as shown in Figure 4-13. Respondents revealed hiring a range of zero to 2,000 salary employees in the past three years with the median number being ten employ ees (Table 4-10). One respondent represented a new company, resulting in a large number of new salary employees being hired in the past three years. Company Retention The final section of the survey inquired about the retention of employees. Results were divided into two subsections, hour ly workers and salary employees as has been typical of the presentation of other results of the survey. Hourly Worker Retention The experiences varied considerably among th e respondents regarding worker retention. Respondents indicated that up to 90% of the hourly workers quit their jobs within the first six months of hire. Additionally, up to 65% of the workers were laid off within the first six months of hire (Table 4-11). Based on these figures, mo re hourly workers quit within the first six month than are laid off. Thus, there appears to be a gr eater reluctance to lay off workers. This may be attributable to how respondents have shown a general difficulty in hiring hourly workers, as expressed in Figure 4-8.

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31 Respondents were asked to desc ribe the level of compensation of hourly workers. The responses were given on a scale ranging from not competitive to very competitive. Nearly 40% of the respondents stated they offered abov e average pay to their hourly workers (Figure 4-14). No respondents stated offering a level of pay that was below average or not competitive and most respondents stated they co nsidered the hourly wages being paid as being either above average or very competitive. Fu rther research into a relationship between the competitive nature of the pay for hourly workers and respondents experience with the turnover of hourly workers revealed no direct correlation. Respondents were asked to stat e their general opinions about the construction industry pay for hourly workers. More than 60% of the resp ondents stated that they did not believe hourly workers were underpaid (Figure 4-15). Thus, it appears that all firms represented among the respondents pay with average wages or that th e pay level is higher than average. When commenting on the pay of construction workers in the industry, over one-third considered construction workers as being underpaid. Salary Employee Retention The survey inquired about the company reten tion practices for salary employees. Since turnover of salary employees does not occur as frequently as that of hourly employees, respondents were asked to reve al how many of their companys salary employees had been working with the company for more than three years (questions about hourly workers pertained to the first six months of employment). Responde nts gave a range of one to 100% of the salary workers had been with the company for the past three years (Table 4-12). One company could not fully respond to this question since the comp any had been in business for only one year. Regardless, there is not a large difference betw een the mean and median values expressed by

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32 respondents. This response shows that most salary employees tend to remain employed by the same firm. Company Size The data were analyzed to determine if th ere was a difference between companies who had annual revenues at or above $100 million (referred to as larger firms) and those with annual revenues at or below $50 million (referred to as smaller firms). Specifically, the data were examined concerning company labor shortage ex perience, promoting the construction industry, and recruitment of hourly workers. Of all the respondents, 66.7% of the genera l contractors and 33.3% of the subcontractors reported annual revenues of $100 million or more Respondents who reported annual revenues of $50 million or less consisted of 36.4% of the general contractors and 68.2% of the subcontractors. Comparing the larger firms with the smaller firm s revealed that a great er shortage of labor was experienced by larger firms, though over half of both groups reported experiencing a labor shortage. The shortage of employees extends to the salary employees as well. Specifically, 83.3% of the respondents in the larger firm group and 72.7% of those in the smaller firms were experiencing a shortage of assi stant project managers/ project engineers. This was the only salary employee position in which there was a difference between the experiences of the two groups. In terms of demographics of the labor force, all of the larger firm respondents felt that demographics were changing. Differences in re sponses between larger firms and smaller firms were evident with 80% of the larger firms sta ting that there were more Hispanic workers and 50% expressing that more women were now worki ng in the industry. Of the smaller firms, 55% stated there were more Hispanic workers and 2.3% stated there were more women.

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33 Company promotion of the construction indus try by the responding firms was related to company size. The larger firms exhibited a gr eater frequency of using online ads and schools, while smaller firms utilized newspapers more than larger firms. Larger firms and smaller firms had different experiences with hiring unskilled and skilled workers. When hiring unskilled workers, 81.8% of larger firms and 32.6% of smaller firms experienced some difficulty. The larger firms e xperienced some difficulty with hiring skilled workers (72.7%) and 27.3% indicted it was very difficult. Some of the smaller firms (34.1%) had some difficulty hiring skilled workers but 61 % stated it was very difficult to hire skilled workers. Recruitment efforts of hourly workers yielded different levels of success for larger firms and smaller firms. In those efforts where th ere was a large difference between experiences by larger firms and smaller firms, larger firms res ponded in greater percentages. Only in recruiting hourly workers through newspapers did smaller firm s have greater success than large firms. Larger firms expressed hiring with more succe ss with unions, apprenticeship programs, company websites and word of mouth than smaller firms. Success in recruiting quality hourly workers re vealed that larger firms had more success than smaller firms. In recruiting unskilled wo rkers, 90% of the larger firms and 74.6% of the smaller firms had some success or were very su ccessful. Larger companies had more success hiring quality skilled workers (90.9 %) than did smaller firms (62.5%).

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34 Table 4-1. Business Sector s Represented by Respondents Business sector Percent of respondents Commercial 80.6% High rise 43.1% Government 37.5% Industrial 34.7% Multifamily residential 26.4% Single family residential 23.6% Other 12.5% Table 4-2. Business Sector s Represented by Respondents Business classification Percent of total Subcontractor 56.9% General contractor 41.7% Specialty contractor 23.6% Construction management 18.1% Other 6.9% Design/build 5.6% Table 4-3. Annual Revenue by Respondent Type of firm Total Mean Median Minimum Maximum Subcontractor 37 $ 60.5 million $15 m illion $1.2 million $720 million General contractor 26 $484.4 million $39 million $3.0 million Over $8 billion All respondents 63 $238.7 million $30 million $1.2 million Over $8 billion Figure 4-1. Company Position of Respondent.

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35 Table 4-4. Respondent Compa nys Total Hourly Workers Type of firm Count Mean Median Minimum Maximum Subcontractors 41 292 workers 100 workers 10 workers 5,000 workers General contractors 30 152 workers 20 workers 0 workers 1,500 workers All respondents 71 216 workers 60 workers 0 workers 5,000 workers Table 4-5. Respondent Compa nys Total Salary Employees Type of firm Count Mean Median Minimum Maximum Subcontractor 41 76 employees 23 employees 0 employees 1,500 employees General contractor 30 278 employees 20 employees 2 employees 6,000 employees All respondents 72 162 employees 23 employees 0 employees 6,000 employees Table 4-6. Age Range of Hourly Workers of Respondent Age range Count Mean Median Minimum Maximum Youngest 68 20.6 years 20 years 17 years 33 years Oldest 68 60.5 years 60 years 35 years 83 years Figure 4-2. Respondent Experience of Hourly Worker Shortage.

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36 Figure 4-3. Respondent Experience with Salary Employee Shortage. Figure 4-4. Respondents Experience with Changes in Workforce Demographics.

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37 Figure 4-5. Respondents Company Memberships. Figure 4-6. Company Membership Experience with Recruitment.

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38 Figure 4-7. Respondent Promotion E fforts of Construction Careers. Figure 4-8. Respondent Hiring Experiences of Hourly Employees.

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39 Figure 4-9. Respondents Recruitment Efforts Level of Success in Hiring Hourly Workers. Figure 4-10. Respondents Success in Hiring Quality Hourly Workers. Table 4-7. Incentives Offered to Hourly Workers Type of hourly worker Response Skilled (welders, electricians, etc) 65.7% Unskilled (laborers) 44.8%

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40 Table 4-8. New Hires of Hourly Workers per Year by Respondents Type of firm Count Mean Median Minimum Maximum Subcontractors 38 98 workers 48 workers 5 workers 700 workers General contractors 27 74 workers 20 workers 1 worker 700 workers All respondents 65 77.2 workers 30.0 workers 1 worker 700 workers Figure 4-11. Respondents Experien ces with Hiring Salary Employees.

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41 Figure 4-12. Respondents Recruitm ent Efforts of Salary Employees. Figure 4-13. Respondents Success in Hiring Quality Salary Employees.

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42 Figure 4-13a. Subcontractor Experi ence Hiring Quality Salary Employees. Figure 4-13b. General C ontractor Experience Hi ring Salary Employees.

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43 Table 4-9. Respondents Experience s with Hiring Salary Employees Salary employee position Response Project manager 74.6% Assistant project manager/ project engineer 72.9% Superintendent 69.2% Estimator 66.7% Table 4-10. Salary Employees Hired in the Past Three Years by Respondents Type of firm Mean Median Minimum Maximum Subcontractor 19.2 employees 8 employees 0 employees 150 employees General contractor 93.4 employees 7.5 employees 0 employees 2,000 employees All respondents 58.3 employees 10 employees 0 employees 2,000 employees Table 4-11. Percentage of H ourly Worker Turnover within First Six Months of Hire Situation Mean Median Minimum Maximum Hourly workers who quit 25.9% 20.0% 0.0% 90.0% Hourly workers laid off 13.4% 5.0% 0.0% 65.0% Figure 4-14. Respondent Pay Range for Hourly Workers.

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44 Figure 4-15. Respondents Opin ion of Hourly Worker Pay. Table 4-12. Percentage of Salary Em ployees Retained Over Three Years Type of firm Mean Median Minimum Maximum Subcontractor 74.0% 80.0% 1.0% 100.0% General contractor 70.4% 75.0% 1.0% 100.0% All responses 71.4% 80.0% 1.0% 100.0%

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45 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS The research has reaffirmed what is already evident there is a labor shortage and the construction industry is having trouble with recr uiting and retaining the workforce specifically with skilled workers. Resear ch results show that many co mpanies are not putting forth a significant effort to remedy this situation. Ther e is an extreme shortage and this problem is getting worse, as there are now less skilled worker s than five years ago. Companies continue to utilize the familiar recruitment avenues of newspa per ads and word of mouth. These approaches have limitations in terms of whom the companies target as potential hires. Newspaper ads are short and do not provide the opportunity for positiv e promotion of the industry. Word of mouth simply spreads at the will of the current work ers who may or may not communicate the positives which the industry as a whole need s to exhibit. Most construc tion workers would not let their children pursue a skilled trade for a career pat h, so the effectiveness of word of mouth in building up an already drastically strained workfor ce is low. Many respondents did not feel that offering incentives would help attract more skilled workers. Workers with considerable experience have s een how the industry ha s changed its attitude towards the skilled worker and th ey do not promote careers in c onstruction as a viable option. Younger workers realize that cons truction is not the career choice that will give them the life they want to lead. It is a widespread dilemma, and it can only be solved at through the active participation with companies, trade organizations and associations and educational leaders. In the research, it was found that every respondent whose compan y was a member of the ABC and directly participated in the ABCs recruitment programs benefited. This was not the same for those respondents who companies were members of the AGC This shows that trade organizations and

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46 associations can learn from each other and improve the methods of recruitment. Combining this with active participation with local high schools and vocationa l programs could create the young workforce the industry needs to meet demands. Some respondents stated that their companie s had programs that were aimed at bringing awareness of the construction industry to the ar ea youth. Companies are participating in high school outreach and coop programs. One compa ny has a toolbox set that were given to elementary and middle school stud ents at career days to create awareness while the children are young. Still, much of the industry is inwardly focused and companies only focus on their immediate needs for workers and do not acknowledge the needs of their industry. It is up to the larger companies to utilize their resources and to join with trade and i ndustry organizations and associations to start a recruitment campaign that refocuses the current opi nion of the construction industry. The research has verified that compa ny high turnover rates of hourly workers may be contributed to retention practices. This justifies the need to change the way the industry looks at retention particularly in how workers are paid an d what is included. Employers need to realize that their workers need health care options and performance in centives. The industry has to refocus and realize that the worker s are the key to its success.

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47 CHAPTER 6 RECOMMENDATIONS The labor shortage problem can be solved, but it will not be easy. Through this research, one can see that the means and methods in recr uitment need to be reevaluated and possibly reinvented. This is a different time and the needs of workers in the industry have changed and they have more demands and expecta tions for their careers and employers. Recommendations to the Industry On the company level, it is important to evaluate how the worker is viewed. Once a company has established the importance of its em ployees, particularly the hourly workers, an approach can be devised on how to recruit workers. The company must also assess what it will offer in training and worker be nefits. Retention is more a bout making sure each employee receives a paycheck every week, and various mechanis ms must be explored that will help to keep the employees on payroll. For companies that are not able to develop a system of recruitment and training, joining the efforts of industry and trade organi zations is a viable solution to be given serious consideration. The reach of a organization goes beyond that of the individual company by utilizing resources that have endless possibilities. The Amer ican Builders and Cont ractors (ABC) has many programs in recruitment and training which have resulted in success by bringing more workers into the industry. Unfortunately, the ABC cannot do this alone. Ultimate success will require the active participation and assistance fr om other organizations and companies. The youths of this county are the key i ndividuals for building up the construction workforce. The industry needs a fresh group of mo tivated and talented i ndividuals who can learn and implement the new technologies and techniques that are occurring in construction today. These individuals require good pay, fair hours, health coverage, safe workplaces, quality

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48 training, opportunities for advancement, perf ormance-based recognition through bonuses and perks similar to those offered to employees in managerial positions. By joining with local school s and pushing for the creation of programs that prepare individuals for a trade, the industry can t ackle the need for younger workers. Schools in disadvantaged areas could incor porate programs that expose stude nts to the various construction trades. With active participation and input from industry leaders, the programs can successfully train and recruit these students and give them a great opportunity in life. To be successful, there has to be more than just the promise of a job and paycheck. The industry needs to change the current im age of a construction worker. The negative view is an incorrect one, but ma y seem valid due to the compositi on of the current workforce due to the impact of the shortage. This image can be changed, and it will have to be done through means of promotion and advertisement. For example, a career as a dentist was for many years viewed as a very demanding career leading to su icide. This was attributed to taboos about having to looking at so many mouths a day. In the last two years, a enorm ous surge in applicants to dental schools has changed the landscape of how schools conduct admissions procedures. This can also occur for construction. One day, the industry could experience a surge in the interest in the skilled trades, but this is a goal that is far in the future. Recommendations to Researchers Further research can be done concerning the labor shortage, particularly with company recruitment, training, and retention. This rese arch intended to review and evaluate company recruitment and retention plans, but unfortunately companies we re unwilling to provide these documents. Review of such documents could shed light on what specific actions are being implemented by companies, and how improvement s can be made to increase the success of hiring individuals for the industry.

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49 Research into the recruitment methods utili zed by construction companies and a further analysis of their effectiveness could give insight on how greater success might be achieved in hiring quality workers. This re search identified the methods companies are utilizing in recruiting workers and established what level of success, if any, the methods exhibited. Further study could uncover some unknown issues that are possibly deterring the industrys ability to recruit sufficient numbers. An evaluation of how constructions image can be changed and finding effective means of communicating a positive message c ould help increase the labor force. In the July 17, 2006 issue of Engineering News Record, an article titled Growing Work Force Crisis Requires An All-Out Blitz suggested creating a recru itment campaign similar to the one that took place during World War II when the U.S. War Department launche d the Rosie the Riveter campaign which allowed women to work in factories and other nontraditional jobs while th e men were serving in the military. What is important about that campaign is that the barriers once keeping women from working in such arenas were forever elim inated. A similar type of campaign combined with the programs of industry and trade orga nizations has much potential. Research into effective means of accomplishing this would be beneficial. Programs in high schools and vocational schools could be evaluated to determine what is successful in current programs regarding the edu cation of new construction workers in various trades. Through research and evaluation, other schools could adopt and implement such programs that train individuals who are not college bound in the construction trades. Ultimately, considerable research has been conducted to define the worker shortage problem and what is happening ri ght now to try to remedy the situ ation. More research needs to

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50 be done that gives the industr y solutions to implement. Through research and active participation from industry leaders, the probl em of the labor shortage can be solved.

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51 APPENDIX A INTERNATIONAL REVIEW BOARD SURVEY APPROVAL LETTER

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52 APPENDIX B SURVEY COVER LETTER

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53 APPENDIX C SURVEY

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54

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55

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57 LIST OF REFERENCES Borcherding, J.D. (1972). An Exploratory Study of Attitudes T hat Affect Human Resources In Buidling and Industrial Construction California: Stanford University. Brown, Jr., B.H. Markus, A.M. (1988). Recruitment Training and Employment of Construction Craftsmen in Florida: Im pediments and Recommendations. Gainesville, Florida: School of Building Construction. University of Florida. Business Roundtable (BRT) (1983). Mo re construction for the money. Construction Industry Cost Effectiveness Project, Summary Rep. The Business Roundtable, Houston. Center to Protect Workers Rights (CPWR) (2006). The Construction Chart Book, Third Edition: Section 15. Retrieved March 21, 2007, from http://www.cpwr.com/pdfs/pubs/chartbook_02/page%2015.pdf Construction Users Roundtable (C URT) (2001). CURT work force development survey results. The Construction User Roundtable. Cincinnati. Garrity, K. (March 8, 1999). No easy so lution to construction labor shortage. Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. Retrieved September 6, 2006, from http://www.djc.com/speci al/construct99/10050580.html Pappas, M.P. (2004). An Assessment of Implementation Requirements for the Tier II Construction Workforce Strategy. Austin, Texas: University of Texas. Poole PhD, K.E. Salem PhD, P.L. White PhD, M. McNamara, S. Allardyce, J. ACCRA. (2005). A Workforce Needs Assessment of the Arizona Construction Trades Industry. Arizona: Arizona Department of Commerce. Srour, I.M., Haas, C.T., Morton, D.P. (2006). Linear Programming A pproach to Optimize Strategic Investment in th e Construction Workforce. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. 132, 1158-1166. Tucker, R.L., Haas, C.T., Glover, R.T., Alemany, C., Carey, L.A., Rodriguez, A., Shields, D. (1999). Key workforce challenges facing the Am erican construction industry: An interim assessment. Rep. No. 3, Center for Construction Industry Studies. University of Texas at Austin. Austin, Texas.

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58 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Staci Fawn Bartlett was born on June 18, 1982 in Manhattan, New York, to John and Francene Bartlett. She has two siblings, a brothe r and a sister. At the age of 7, she lost her mother to suicide, and at the age of 11, she lost her father to cancer. She was adopted by Raymond and Ruby Johnson shortly after her fathers death. Staci graduated from Coconut Creek High School in 2001 and was in the top 10 of her class of over 500 students. She was accepted into th e University of Florida and started attending in the summer of 2001. She initially majored in interior design, but soon changed her focus of study to architecture in order to not limit her education and employment opportunities. Staci completed her Bachelor of Design with a major in architecture in May of 2005. Staci decided to pursue a masters degree in building construction prior to completing her study in architecture due to her l ack of knowledge of the practicalit ies in constructing a building. Staci graduated in May 2007 and works for a construction management company in South Florida.


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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0020584/00001

Material Information

Title: Recruitment and Retention Practices in Construction
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

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Holding Location: University of Florida
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Material Information

Title: Recruitment and Retention Practices in Construction
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0020584:00001


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RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION INT CONSTRUCTION


By

STACI FAWN BARTLETT

















A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE INT BUILDING CONSTRUCTION

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007




































O 2007 Staci Fawn Bartlett




























To my mother and father, whose sacrifices can only be realized through my accomplishments in
life--may this be one of the many reasons why your sacrifices were made--I love you both with
all my heart.










ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Dr. Jimmie Hinze, for all his time and efforts in helping me through

this research. I would have never been able to complete such a paper without his constant input

and active participation. I would also like to thank Dr. Leon Wetherington and Dr. Douglas

Lucas, for participating as committee members.

I would like to thank Dr. R. Raymond Issa, for allowing me to enter the graduate program.

My time at the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction has been an amazing

experience. Finally, I must thank my family and close friends, for always supporting me in my

endeavors .












TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............. ...............4.....


LIST OF TABLES ................. ...............7..___ .....


LIST OF FIGURES .............. ...............8.....


AB S TRAC T ..... ._ ................. ............_........9


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............11.......... ......


2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................. ...............13................


Construction Labor Shortage ................. ............... ...............13......
Image of the Construction Industry and Workforce ................ ...............14........... ..
Recruitment ................. ...............14.................
Training ................. ...............15........... ....
Retention ................. ...............17.................


3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY .............. ...............18....


Compilation of the Survey ................. ...............19................
Evaluation of Data ................. ...............20........... ....


4 RE SULT S .............. ...............22....


The Company............... ...............22
Labor Shortage............... ...............24
Company Recruitment ................. ...............26.................
Hourly Worker Recruitment ........_................. ......._._. .........2
Salary Employee Recruitment ................. ...............29........... ....
Company Retention .............. ...............3 0....
Hourly W orker Retention ................. ...............30........... ....
Salary Employee Retention ................ ...............31........... ....
Company Size ................. ...............32.................

5 CONCLUSIONS .............. ...............45....


6 RECOMMENDATIONS ................. ...............47.................


Recommendations to the Industry .............. ...............47....
Recommendations to Researchers .............. ...............48....












APPENDIX


A INTERNATIONAL REVIEW BOARD SURVEY APPROVAL LETTER .........................51


B SURVEY COVER LETTER ................. ...............52................


C SURVEY .............. ...............53....


LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............57........... ....


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............58....










LIST OF TABLES


Table page

4-1 Business Sectors Represented by Respondents .............. ...............34....

4-2 Business Sectors Represented by Respondents .............. ...............34....

4-3 Annual Revenue by Respondent ........... .......__ ...............34..

4-4 Respondent Company's Total Hourly Workers............... ...............35

4-5 Respondent Company's Total Salary Employees ....._._._ .... ....__. ......._.........3

4-6 Age Range of Hourly Workers of Respondent ....._._._ .... ....__. ... .._._.........3

4-7 Incentives Offered to Hourly Workers .............. ...............39....

4-8 New Hires of Hourly Workers per Year by Respondents. ........._. ..... ..._. ............40

4-9 Respondent' s Experiences with Hiring Salary Employees........__ ............ ...... .........43

4-10 Salary Employees Hired in the Past Three Years by Respondents ..........._.... ...............43

4-11 Percentage of Hourly Worker Turnover within First Six Months of Hire..............._...__.....43

4-12 Percentage of Salary Employees Retained Over Three Years............_..._ ........._...__.....44










LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

4-1 Company Position of Respondent ................. ...............34........... ...

4-2 Respondent Experience of Hourly Worker Shortage ................. ...........................3 5

4-3 Respondent Experience with Salary Employee Shortage ................. ................ ...._.36

4-4 Respondent' s Experience with Changes in Workforce Demographics ................... ..........36

4-5 Respondent' s Company Memberships ................ ............. ......... ........ ......37

4-6 Company Membership Experience with Recruitment ................. ......... ................37

4-7 Respondent Promotion Efforts of Construction Careers .............. ....................3

4-8 Respondent Hiring Experiences of Hourly Employees .......... ................ ...............3 8

4-9 Respondent' s Recruitment Efforts Level of Success in Hiring Hourly Workers ..............39

4-10 Respondent' s Success in Hiring Quality Hourly Workers ................. ................ ...._39

4-11 Respondent' s Experiences with Hiring Salary Employees................... ......................40

4-12 Respondent' s Recruitment Efforts of Salary Employees ......._.. ......... ..... ........._..41

4-13 Respondent' s Success in Hiring Quality Salary Employees............_..._ ........._._.........41

4-13a Subcontractor Experience Hiring Quality Salary Employees.........._..._.._ ........._..._......42

4-13b General Contractor Experience Hiring Salary Employees .............. ....................4

4-14 Respondent Pay Range for Hourly Workers ........._..._.. ....._.._ ....._._. .........4

4-15 Respondent' s Opinion of Hourly Worker Pay ........._..._.. ....._.._ ..................4









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Building Construction

RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION INT CONSTRUCTION

By

Staci Fawn Bartlett

May 2007

Chair: Jimmie Hinze
Cochair: Leon Wetherington
Major: Building Construction

The current construction labor force of the United States is insufficient to meet the

increasing demands of the industry. This is evident in all trades and is experienced on projects

throughout the country and is affecting the industry in a negative way, resulting in increased

costs and proj ect delays.

Since construction is the second largest industry in the United States, it is important to not

ignore this issue. It is generally understood that Hispanic immigrants comprise the maj ority of

the South Florida labor force and this is impacting the industry in many ways. These workers

have varying communication and skill levels, causing the industry to implement necessary

changes in how it operates.

The image of the construction industry as an employment option is becoming less desirable

due to the increasing belief that everyone must go to college. Because of the lack of experience

and general understanding about the construction industry as an employment option, many

people, especially high school students who are not interested in going to college, are missing

out on an opportunity to be part of building the infrastructure in which they live. If high school

students could see that working in construction is about being a creative, problem solver who

creates unique proj ects, maybe there would not be a labor shortage in construction.









The industry needs to focus on three main aspects of the construction workforce:

recruitment, training, and retention to devise solutions for the shortage. This research evaluates

the current state of the workforce focusing on South Florida contractors and specialty contractors

to identify efforts in recruitment and retention. Surveys were used to evaluate how construction

companies obtained their labor force and what activities are in place for recruitment.

Through the data obtained from the surveys, the report outlines current efforts for

improving the labor force shortage and provides suggestions for recruitment and retention of the

construction trade labor force. Through active recognition of the issue and participation in

implementing a solution, the labor force of South Florida can be restored as an effective asset of

the industry.









CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

The construction industry is volatile with peaks and falls in employment that coincide with

the state of the economy. Its volatility has much to do with the well known fact that construction

is the second largest industry, next to the US government. Even if the industry is booming,

without a large skilled labor force it cannot satisfy the demands.

The industry is changing, especially in the general composition of its most valuable asset:

the labor force. A once primarily white male group, the labor force is becoming dominated by

minorities and now women are choosing construction as a career. This presents many challenges

including language barriers and ethical dilemmas, all of which require new considerations on

how the industry recruits, trains, and most importantly retains its workforce.

Attitudes need to be changed and practices and procedures need to be revised. Actions are

being put forth by many companies in the construction industry with some being more successful

than others. The purpose of this research is to find out what construction companies are doing

from all facets of the industry to retain their workforce and how these practices may convince

people to pursue a career as a skilled construction trade worker.

In today's society, there are many careers in construction; however many consider that

there are better j obs outside of the construction industry. The j obs may not pay and they may not

really inspire or motivate a person to have a purpose or goal, but they offer benefits health

insurance, a family environment, stock packages and 401K options that are important for

today's society in terms of having a family and living the "American Dream." For management

positions in construction these benefits are usually a given, but for laborers and skilled workers,

these benefits are not always offered.









In terms of the construction industry, if the main goal is to recruit a large workforce, one

that is skilled and knowledgeable and can produce a quality proj ect, then the industry will have

to start focusing on what they can offer the average American worker. If someone has to put in

time training for a position, then the industry needs to make an investment on the workers' time

and efforts. The common attitude of the industry in terms of training is a negative and

pessimistic one. To say a company is reluctant to invest in someone because they will most

likely leave to work with another company implies something about the company who has that

view. If an investment is made in a person, taking into consideration all their needs, then why

would that worker leave once training is complete? Competition exists in the construction

industry due to the lack of skilled laborers, but a worker who feels valued will stick with the

company. There is more to a job than a paycheck, and the industry needs to start to understand

this.

If the industry can focus on convincing society that it understands its needs in terms of

employment and career options, then more high school students who are not interested in the

challenge of college can choose the challenge of enrolling in training programs and become an

asset to the companies that invest in them. Construction companies and training programs can

join together and discover what the worker' s wants and needs are and formulate a plan that will

help to develop a valuable workforce.

This research focuses on the South Florida construction industry and the current

recruitment and retention practices of these companies and how they view the labor force.

Through surveys this research will give insight for other companies to follow and implement to

rejuvenate the workforce and the industry.









CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

Construction Labor Shortage

The construction industry is the second largest US employer and it is facing an

unprecedented nationwide shortage of skilled labor: a construction company's most important

asset. The United States Construction industry shortage of skilled labor was predicted more than

two decades ago (Srour et al. 2006). A 1983 report by the Business Round Table described a

skilled labor shortage as one of the main challenges the industry would be facing in the last

decade of the past century which was attributed to the contractor' s lack of interest in training and

the owner's ignorance (Srour et al. 2006).

A Construction Industry Institute study showed that 75% of participating contractors were

experiencing shortages and a Business Roundtable Construction Committee found that 25% of

their member' s proj ects encountered cost overruns and schedule delays caused by labor shortfalls

(Garrity 1999). In a more recent study in 2001 by the Construction Users Round Table, the

skilled labor shortage was viewed by owner companies as the most critical problem facing the

industry with 82% of the responding companies experiencing shortages of skilled workers on

their proj ects. The study revealed that all project types were affected, but that electricians, pipe

fitters, and welders were the most critical trades experiencing a shortage (Srour et al. 2006).

An article titled "No easy solution to construction labor shortage" by Kathleen Garrity of

the Associated Builders and Contractors stated the reason for the shortage was due to the view of

the industry that building things with your hands was undesirable, something you would do if

you were unable to do anything else for a career. High school students surveyed about attractive

careers listed construction 249th out of 250 possible occupations. They stated that they viewed a

construction career as "dirty, uninteresting work done in bad weather by not very bright people."










(Garrity 1999). A 1999 Construction Industry Institute study titled "Key Workforce Challenges

Facing the American Construction Industry: An interim assessment" stated the workforce

problem is due to the industry's poor image, an undesirable working environment, the need for

workers to relocate for each new proj ect, and a career path that seems unclear (Srour et al. 2006).

Image of the Construction Industry and Workforce

A study done in 1972 on the sociology of the construction industry workforce

demonstrated that the construction industry was distinctive in the uniqueness of the j ob and its

resulting personal satisfaction for the worker when compared to the industrial industry.

Construction is an industry in which each proj ect (consisting of a unique location and often one-

of-a-kind design) has special characteristics. Each project provides its own challenges as the

design materializes as a tangible product through the efforts of many different crafts who install

various types of materials. Construction is flexible by nature requiring decision making at all

levels of the workforce; this opportunity to make decisions is one of the many reasons why

construction is a satisfying career (Borcherding 1972).

The industry as a whole needs to concentrate on improving the image of construction, but

it also needs to focus on putting forth a maximum effort on improving training capacity,

enhancing wages, benefits, and working conditions (Garrity 1999). The construction industry

may find it difficult to fill positions and Eind potential workers with all the necessary skills given

the poor image of the industry (Srour et al. 2006). A report issued in 2001 by the Construction

Users Round Table attributed the problem of the workforce shortage to several factors including

poor retention, poor training, and relatively low wages (Srour et al. 2006).

Recruitment

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics with the US Department of Labor has estimated that the

construction industry needs to attract 240,000 workers each year to replace those who are retiring









or leaving the industry and to allow for some growth in capacity (Garrity 1999). A 2004 report

by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated a need to replace almost 1,500,000 construction trade

worker j obs by 2010 with a subsequent demand for new construction laborers increasing by over

100,000 (Srour et al. 2006). In 1999, the average age of a construction worker was 47 years and

is climbing today (Garrity 1999). The construction industry is looking at a future workforce that

will be mainly composed of minorities and women, something that is very uncharacteristic of the

traditional compilation of the industry and will require the industry to provide training in dealing

with a diverse workforce (Garrity 1999). An industry that has been inwardly focused in

operating and solving problems will need to look outside for solutions to the current labor

shortage (Borcherding 1972).

Recruitment of construction workers will be facilitated by improving the image and

awareness of construction trade careers by encouraging more young people who are not planning

to go to college to consider a career in construction focusing recruitment efforts on parents and

school career counselors as well as high school students is the best way to accomplish this (Poole

et al. 2005). This can be further facilitated by an aggressive and creative recruitment program

and more importantly, and an increase in wage rates. The lack of recruitment of students in

training programs is attributable to the low opinion of the trades and low wages (Brown Jr.,

Markus 1988).

Training

"Much of the workforce remains unskilled or under-skilled, therefore training must be

considered as an option when staffing for a proj ect" (Srour et al. 2006). Many people who

decide to go into a construction training program decide to take on a different career path before

or after completion of the program due to the low pay in the industry, thus resulting in low

annual employment rates in the construction industry (Brown Jr., Markus 1988). Other reasons









for high dropout rates include cultural barriers and economic burdens due to the long term

commitment and investment of apprenticeship programs (Poole et al. 2005). In an assessment

study done in Arizona concerning the construction industry workforce, the apprentices who

completed training programs only accounted for thirty-three to 50% of the number of qualified

workers needed during the next decade (Poole et al. 2005). A solution for the drop-out rate of

apprenticeship and training programs was to improve prequalification assessments of the

applicants (Poole et al. 2005).

Beyond the drop-out rate and recruitment issues of training programs, training programs

are not being conformed to the needs of the industry; there is a lack of consistency in training

through apprenticeship programs which does not produce the same quality of trained workers

(Poole et al. 2005). Major discrepancies exist in terms of the curriculum of training programs

from the view of the educators and industry members, and this is resulting in a lack of good

craftsmen.

Contractors need to improve on the j ob training programs by incorporating classroom and

shop training resulting in a competency-based program (Brown Jr., Markus 1988). The industry

uses an age old system of on the j ob training, along with classroom instruction as the best way to

pass along knowledge (Garrity 1999).

Training programs of unions have affected the efforts of open shop sectors in training

skilled construction workers. Unions offer an incentive in that employers are guaranteed that

they will get a worker that has the necessary skills to complete the j ob task at hand.

Traditionally, unions have limited the number of new apprentices they accept into their

programs, training only enough for the anticipated needs of union employers. Unions only

represent a quarter of the construction industry and therefore they do not have the capacity to









train enough workers for the entire industry and its current needs (Garrity 1999). As a result, the

open shop sector has had to make a commitment to train the thousands of workers that are

needed. Associated Builders and Contractors developed the Wheels of Learning program over

twenty years ago as a training solution. The program's standard curriculum can be used for task

training, apprenticeship training, and cross training of construction trade workers (Garrity 1999).

A 1994 effort by Associated Builders and Contractors with twenty-two other trade

associations and maj or open-shop industrial contractors resulted in the creation of the National

Center for Construction Education and Research to maximize the money and resources spent on

construction craft training. The effort has resulted in an improvement in training that has

brought well rounded and highly qualified j ourneymen to go on and build 70% of construction

projects in America (Garrity 1999). Yet, this is not enough.

Retention

Even after training these workers successfully, the industry cannot retain the skilled

workers and regularly loses them to other occupations. In the dissertation written in 2004 titled

"An Assessment of Implementation Requirements for the Tier II Construction Workforce

Strategy" by M.P. Pappas, solutions listed for the skilled labor shortage ranged from increased

wages and other incentives such as guaranteed overtime, training incentives to employing

foreign labor or outsourcing work to foreign sources and reducing the workforce demands

through implementation of automation and technology (Srour et al. 2006). The industry must

take a serious look at how workers are paid and what benefits are offered for them and their

families. Workers want good wages and benefits, scheduled overtime, safe and pleasant working

conditions, per diems, travel pay, and other perks (Garrity 1999).









CHAPTER 3
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Initially, the research of the literature was focused on the current labor shortage of South

Florida and the training efforts of the industry. While conducting the literature review, some

information on recruitment and retention practices in the industry was also obtained. The

research was initially intended to focus on the whole process of attracting people to work in the

industry, training the workers so they are capable of being valuable and skilled, and then on how

the industry's current practices to retain people that have chosen a career in construction.

Because of the varied demographics of the workforce and the fact that there is such a

critical shortage, the research focus began to shift. Training programs are provided through

vocational and technical schools, union organizations, and trade organizations, such as the

Associated Builders and Contractors. Without sufficient numbers of people interested in

pursuing a career that requires the training, the programs are having vastly diminished value.

Retention practices are often futile due to the fact that there are many jobs available and it has

been found that many workers currently in the industry will leave a company because another

company pays a few cents more per hour. Even if the company they were working for had a

great culture, just a few cents per hour extra can entice many workers to forget their loyalty to

the firm and move on. Companies often feel that they cannot afford to raise its pay whenever a

worker threatens to leave. This is despite the fact that construction worker pay has declined in

recent years. The pay range for workers in the industry today is low compared to the wages of

the 1970s and this directly affects the labor force causing the shortage due to general disinterest

of people in seeking a career in construction. Recruitment is required to increase the industry

workforce. The current public opinion of construction is a false one of misunderstanding and

prejudice. The industry is responsible for being an advocate for construction. The construction









industry is suffering from an aging workforce, one in which some workers have been noted to be

70 years old. The industry needs a fresh new group of young people who have the capability to

become skilled in any of the trades or even for management positions. Programs are in place

through some of the trade/industry organizations, but more effort needs to be put forth by the

company owners doing business in construction. Therefore the topic of the research changed

focus to determine if the industry is currently making an effort to recruit workers for the industry

and to determine what type of retention programs they may have it place.

Compilation of the Survey

A survey was developed to Eind out about construction companies practices related to

worker recruitment and retention. The survey solicited information on the demographics of

construction firms in South Florida, company perceptions of the current shortage of labor, areas

where the shortage exists in terms of hourly employees (unskilled workers and skilled workers)

and salary employees (superintendents, project managers, estimators, and accountants), and the

extent that the shortage impacted the companies. The survey also asked about company

recruitment plans that were implemented for salary employees and hourly employees, and if they

felt their efforts are successful. Questions are also asked about retention practices of the

companies. Companies that had a written recruitment or retention plan were asked if the

company would be willing to provide a copy for the purpose of the research study.

In the development of the survey, several iterations were completed before the survey was

in its Einal form. The initial survey was an exploration of what types of questions may be asked

to obtain the necessary information on recruitment and retention. The survey was eventually

divided up into sections with separate subsections for salary and hourly employees. Several

questions were asked of salary and hourly employees under recruitment and retention practices

of the company. Some question and answer options were different in the subsections due to the










differences between salary and hourly employees and how and where companies may focus their

efforts for recruitment and retention. After about ten iterations of survey development, the final

survey was completed. The Einal version of the survey contained over 50 questions, most of

which solicited a multiple choice response. A cover letter to explain the overall purpose of the

study was also prepared.

The survey and cover letter were submitted for approval by the University of Florida' s

Institutional Research Board (IRB). Upon approval of the survey by the IRB, the survey

population was defined. Construction company names and addresses were obtained through the

online databases of the Florida chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and

the Associated General Contractors (AGC). For the ABC, all contractors located south of Stuart

were used, with annual volumes of business ranging from $100,000 to over $500,000,000. The

contractors chosen from the AGC were also located south of Stuart. The company data on the

AGC members contained no information in terms of volume of business. A total of 500 surveys

were mailed to the South Florida companies, and these firms represented all major sectors of the

construction industry. The survey population included most of the South Florida construction

firms that are either a member of the ABC and/or the AGC.

Evaluation of Data

Upon obtaining the completed survey responses, data were coded for analysis with the

Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The analysis revealed the current recruitment

and retention practices and perceived levels of success with these practices. No companies

provided a recruitment or retention plan with their responses.

Using the compiled data, an analysis determined the current efforts of companies in the

industry in recruitment to increase the workforce and its retention practices in keeping these

recruited workers in the industry. This information was compiled in the results chapter of the










paper to be used as insight for the industry to use to solve the current labor shortage in the

construction industry.









CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

The Eindings of this research are based on 72 completed surveys that were received. A

total of 500 surveys were mailed out, representing a response rate of 14.4%. The findings will be

presented for each of the topic areas of the survey, including company demographics, company

labor shortage experience, company recruitment, and company retention.

The Company

The first portion of the survey solicited demographic information about the responding

companies and the composition of their labor forces. Many business sectors were represented by

the respondents, with the commercial sector being addressed by over 80% of the respondents

(Table 4-1). Note that the table shows all of the business sectors represented by the respondents

with many respondents working in more than one sector. Thus, the results show that 80% of the

respondents did at least some work in the commercial sector. As a result of this method of

compilation, the percentages of all the business sectors add up to more than 100%. Those sectors

categorized as "other" included public sector design/build, medical, design/assist, bridges,

power-line construction and maintenance: distribution and transmission, hi-end construction, site

work, utility, and transportation.

Many business classifications were represented by the respondents, with the subcontractor

classification being addressed by over 50% of the respondents (Table 4-2). As shown in Table

4-2, respondents often represented more than one business classification. Specifically,

respondents classified as subcontractors may also be represented among specialty contractors as

they are considered to be the same for some respondents. Respondents classified as general

contractors represented more than 40% of respondents (Table 4-2). As with respondents

represented as subcontractors, respondents represented as general contractors may also represent









such categories as construction management or design/build. As a result of this compilation, the

percentages of all the business classifications add up to more than 100%. Those classifications

categorized as "other" included manufacturing, consultation services, highway construction,

concrete pumping service, and heavy equipment.

Respondents were asked to provide information on their firms' annual revenue which

ranged from $1.2 million to over $8 billion (Table 4-3). This range consists of respondents who

represented the business classifications as shown in Table 4-2, resulting in a large difference

between the mean and median annual revenues. This is due to the large representation by

respondents as subcontractors who typically have revenues that do not reach levels as those

typically exhibited by large general contractors. Therefore, the median value is more descriptive

of the typical respondent' s annual revenue. Two respondents reported annual revenues in the

billions while the maj ority of respondents had revenues in the millions of dollars. This type of

distribution of annual revenues would be expected when respondents consist of both

subcontractors and general contractors.

Respondents completing the survey were asked to indicate their position in the company

they represented. The categories noted were president, vice president, senior proj ect manager,

proj ect manager, and "other." Respondents classified as president were represented by over

40% of respondents and over 30% were classified as vice presidents (Figure 4-1) Those

positions categorized as "other," comprising 25% of respondents, included positions such as

administrator, branch manager, business development, chief financial officer, controller, director,

human resources director, office manager, and secretary/treasurer.

To determine the composition of each responding company's work force and employee

base, questions were asked about the number of hourly workers and salary employees the










respondent's company employed. In reference to hourly workers, the range was zero to 5,000

hourly workers with a median value of 60 hourly workers (Table 4-4). The mean value of 216

hourly workers represents the large difference exhibited between the respondents classified as

subcontractors and the respondents classified as general contractors. One general contractor

subcontracted all the work and had no hourly workers.

The number of salary employees of respondent companies ranged from zero to 6,000

employees with a median value of 23 employees (Table 4-5). The mean value of 162 employees

represents the large difference in the needs of respondents classified as subcontractors (fewer

employees) and respondents classified as general contractors. A minimum value of zero salary

employees may be typical of a respondent classified as a subcontractor who designates a

superintendent as an hourly worker rather than a salary employee as is common among some

general contractors.

Respondents were asked to provide information about the age of their hourly workers

which revealed a range from 17 years of age to 83 years of age (Table 4-6). The mean and

median values were similar, differing by no more than one year. The oldest workers of the

respondents were 60 years old (median). According to The Construction Chart Book, the median

age of construction workers was 37.5 years (CPWR 2006).

Labor Shortage

Information was sought about the much-publicized construction worker shortage.

Respondents were asked about their experience related to the availability of hourly workers and

salary employees. More than 50% of respondents indicated that they were experiencing a

shortage of labor. In terms of hourly workers, the experiences about the availability of workers

were quite different for unskilled workers and skilled workers with over 50% of the respondents

expressing no shortage of unskilled workers and more than 50% of the respondents expressing an









extreme shortage of skilled workers (Figure 4-2). In terms of a "slight shortage" of workers,

more respondents showed a higher percentage for unskilled workers than skilled workers. The

percentage was higher for skilled workers in the "no shortage" category than the "slight

shortage" category, but both were surpassed in the "extreme shortage" category.

Respondents were asked to describe their experience about the shortage of salary

employees. As with hourly workers, they were asked to describe the experience about the

availability of individuals to fill six typical positions. For each position, they were to indicate if

there was "no shortage," a "slight shortage," or an "extreme shortage." The highest percent for

an "extreme shortage" was designated for superintendents, a value of over 30% (Figure 4-3).

The extreme shortage was next noted for proj ect managers, estimators, and assistant proj ect

managers/project engineers. There was essentially no extreme shortage of accountants or

purchasing agents. Among the subcontractor respondents, the extreme shortage of

superintendents was noted by 41% of the respondents, while for general contractors 23.3%

identified the shortage of superintendents as being extreme.

The demographics of the labor force have changed considerably for many respondents.

For example, more than 60% of the respondents stated that there are less skilled workers (45

respondents) in their workforce and more Hispanic workers (44 respondents) in the workforce

(Figure 4-4). A total of 29 respondents stated that they have experienced more Hispanic workers

and less skilled workers, but there is no correlation to support a relationship. Other respondents

expressed that the workforce had older workers, more women, and less than 10% of the

respondents stated that the demographics of the workforce had not changed. Those

demographics categorized as "other" were less unskilled workers, more Haitians, more Islanders,

more licensed workers, and fewer workers willing to perform work as required.









Company Recruitment

One section of the survey focused on company recruitment efforts. Information was

sought to determine if company membership in industry associations helped respondents benefit

in their recruitment efforts. Respondents were requested to state if they were members of any

industry associations. Nearly 70% of the respondents were members of the Associated Builders

and Contractors (ABC) and over 50% of the respondents were members of the Associated

General Contractors (AGC) (Figure 4-5). This level of membership might be expected as the

mailing list for the survey was developed from the ABC and AGC directories. Organizations

categorized as "other" were Contractors Association of South Florida (11 respondents),

Electrical Contractors Association (2 respondents), Mechanical Contractors Association

(two respondents), with one member in the American Concrete and Paving Association,

American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc., American Society of Concrete Contractors,

Building Officials Association of Florida, Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association,

Construction Industry of South Florida, Electrical Contractors Association, Federated Electrical

Contractors, Florida Fire Sprinkler Association, Florida Transportation Builders Association,

Florida Engineering Society, The Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning

Contractors Association (FRSCA), International Electrotechnical Commission, Jack Miller

Network, National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), National Fire Sprinkler Association

NAPA, NECA, NFIB, NRCA, PHCC, Tilt-up Concrete Association, and Florida Electrical.

The data were divided to analyze responses regarding member organizations and the

efforts of these organizations to recruit (Figure 4-6). For respondents who were members of

ABC, 79% said that the ABC did promote recruitment activities. Of those respondents, 57.5%

stated that the ABC was the most active in promoting recruitment activities. An equal

percentage of respondents (3 9%) stated that they participated in the recruitment activities of the









ABC and had experienced a direct benefit from their participation in those activities. In terms of

the AGC, 87% of respondents stated that their membership organization promoted recruitment

activities. Of those respondents, 56% stated that AGC was the most active in promoting

recruitment activities. A total of 46.7% of respondents who were members of AGC stated that

they participated in AGC recruitment activities, and of those respondents, 34.4% had

experienced a direct benefit from that participation.

In addition to the direct recruitment of workers, the survey asked about individual

company efforts in promoting employment opportunities in the construction industry in order to

bring awareness to the community. Over 30% of the respondents stated that they promoted the

construction profession in local newspaper ads (Figure 4-7). Online ads, company sponsored

events, school career fairs, and ads on television were also utilized to promote the construction

industry. Note that the chart shows all of the promotion efforts of the respondents with many

respondents utilizing more than one method. Promotion of opportunities in the "other" category

included internet websites; high school co-ops and outreaches; military, college, and general

career fairs; radio; universities; ads on company vehicles; college employment postings;

recruiting through current employees; workforce alliances; labor agents; and construction

toolbox kits for elementary and middle schools.

Hourly Worker Recruitment

Additional questions were focused on recruitment and hiring experiences related to hourly

workers. Experiences were quite varied depending on whether the workers were skilled or

unskilled. Companies generally had no difficulty in hiring unskilled workers but found it very

difficult to hire skilled workers (Figure 4-8). In the "hire with some difficulty" category,

experiences were about the same.










In terms of recruitment, 30% of the respondents stated that recruitment of hourly workers

through word of mouth was the most successful method in hiring hourly employees (Figure 4-9).

The recruitment avenues with "no success" included high schools, community colleges, union

organizations, and industry publications. Recruitment avenues in the "other" category that

respondents found to be "very successful" included

Recruiting through current employees
Headhunters
Radio advertisements
"Now Hiring" signs on company vehicles

Other activities that solicited "little/some success" included using recruiters, referrals,

referral bonuses, and through current workforce. One respondent stated reputation as a

recruitment tool.

Respondents were asked if they had success in hiring quality hourly workers. There was

no dramatic difference in the experiences of hiring unskilled and skilled workers (Figure 4-10).

Generally, most (nearly 50%) respondents had "some success" in hiring quality hourly workers,

whether skilled or unskilled. There is a slight indication that the "little success" efforts were

noted more with skilled workers and that the "very successful" efforts were noted more with

unskilled workers.

The survey asked the respondents to state whether or not they offered incentives to new

hourly worker hires. More respondents offered incentives for new skilled worker hires than

unskilled worker hires (Table 4-7). This reflects the overwhelming need for skilled workers as

over 50% of the respondents experienced a significant shortage (Figure 4-2).

When asked about the number of new worker hires, respondents indicated that one to 700

hourly workers were hired per year (Table 4-8). The typical respondent hired 32 workers

(median) each year.









Salary Employee Recruitment

A series of questions were asked about salary employee. When asked about their

experiences with recruiting and hiring salary employees, over 40% of the respondents stated that

superintendents, proj ect managers, and estimators were "very difficult to hire" and about 50% of

the respondents described accountants and purchasing agents as "not difficult to hire"

(Figure 4-1 1). Over 50% of the respondents experienced some difficulty in hiring assistant

proj ect managers (APM) and proj ect engineers (PE).

Nearly 30% of the respondents stated their efforts in recruiting salary employees by word

of mouth proved to be "very successful" (Figure 4-12). Over 40% of the respondents gave

additional recruitment strategies, in the "other" category that were "very successful." Those

strategies regarded as "very successful" by respondents included using headhunters and

recruiters. In terms of recruiters, not all respondents experienced the same success, with

respondents expressing a range of experience from "no success" to "little/some success." Some

success had been experienced with internally promoting and using current contacts. One

respondent used an internal employee referral bonus.

The different recruiting techniques had varying levels of success for different salary

employee positions. The experience of respondents in hiring salary employees, specifically

superintendents, assistant proj ect managers/proj ect engineers, proj ect managers, and estimators

had been similar with a normal distribution exhibiting that most respondents found "some

success" in making quality hires for those positions (Figure 4-13).

When the data was analyzed further, it was discovered that subcontractors and general

contractors had different experiences in hiring quality salary employees. This is attributable to

the differing needs to hire salary employees by subcontractors and general contractors. When

comparing Figure 4-13a and Figure 4-13b, general contractors exhibited a greater amount of










success of hiring in all positions (over 30%) than subcontractors (over 10%). Subcontractors

experienced an increasing amount of success in hiring estimators while contractors found "some

success.")

Most respondents stated that they employed the techniques of offering hiring incentives to

salary employees with more incentives being offered to proj ect managers than estimators

(Table 4-9). Since nearly 50% of respondents found hiring project managers as very difficult

(Figure 4-11i), offering incentives may have a direct relationship with the success of hiring

quality proj ect managers as shown in Figure 4-13.

Respondents revealed hiring a range of zero to 2,000 salary employees in the past three

years with the median number being ten employees (Table 4-10). One respondent represented a

new company, resulting in a large number of new salary employees being hired in the past three

years .

Company Retention

The final section of the survey inquired about the retention of employees. Results were

divided into two subsections, hourly workers and salary employees, as has been typical of the

presentation of other results of the survey.

Hourly Worker Retention

The experiences varied considerably among the respondents regarding worker retention.

Respondents indicated that up to 90% of the hourly workers quit their j obs within the first six

months of hire. Additionally, up to 65% of the workers were laid off within the first six months

of hire (Table 4-11). Based on these figures, more hourly workers quit within the first six month

than are laid off. Thus, there appears to be a greater reluctance to lay off workers. This may be

attributable to how respondents have shown a general difficulty in hiring hourly workers, as

expressed in Figure 4-8.










Respondents were asked to describe the level of compensation of hourly workers. The

responses were given on a scale ranging from "not competitive" to "very competitive." Nearly

40% of the respondents stated they offered "above average" pay to their hourly workers

(Figure 4-14). No respondents stated offering a level of pay that was "below average" or "not

competitive" and most respondents stated they considered the hourly wages being paid as being

either "above average" or "very competitive." Further research into a relationship between the

competitive nature of the pay for hourly workers and respondent' s experience with the turnover

of hourly workers revealed no direct correlation.

Respondents were asked to state their general opinions about the construction industry pay

for hourly workers. More than 60% of the respondents stated that they did not believe hourly

workers were underpaid (Figure 4-15). Thus, it appears that all firms represented among the

respondents pay with average wages or that the pay level is higher than average. When

commenting on the pay of construction workers in the industry, over one-third considered

construction workers as being underpaid.

Salary Employee Retention

The survey inquired about the company retention practices for salary employees. Since

turnover of salary employees does not occur as frequently as that of hourly employees,

respondents were asked to reveal how many of their company's salary employees had been

working with the company for more than three years (questions about hourly workers pertained

to the first six months of employment). Respondents gave a range of one to 100% of the salary

workers had been with the company for the past three years (Table 4-12). One company could

not fully respond to this question since the company had been in business for only one year.

Regardless, there is not a large difference between the mean and median values expressed by










respondents. This response shows that most salary employees tend to remain employed by the

same firm.

Company Size

The data were analyzed to determine if there was a difference between companies who had

annual revenues at or above $100 million (referred to as larger firms) and those with annual

revenues at or below $50 million (referred to as smaller firms). Specifically, the data were

examined concerning company labor shortage experience, promoting the construction industry,

and recruitment of hourly workers.

Of all the respondents, 66.7% of the general contractors and 33.3% of the subcontractors

reported annual revenues of $100 million or more. Respondents who reported annual revenues

of $50 million or less consisted of 36.4% of the general contractors and 68.2% of the

sub contractors.

Comparing the larger firms with the smaller firms revealed that a greater shortage of labor

was experienced by larger firms, though over half of both groups reported experiencing a labor

shortage. The shortage of employees extends to the salary employees as well. Specifically,

83.3% of the respondents in the larger firm group and 72.7% of those in the smaller firms were

experiencing a shortage of assistant proj ect managers/ proj ect engineers. This was the only

salary employee position in which there was a difference between the experiences of the two

groups.

In terms of demographics of the labor force, all of the larger firm respondents felt that

demographics were changing. Differences in responses between larger firms and smaller firms

were evident with 80% of the larger firms stating that there were more Hispanic workers and

50% expressing that more women were now working in the industry. Of the smaller firms, 55%

stated there were more Hispanic workers and 2.3% stated there were more women.










Company promotion of the construction industry by the responding firms was related to

company size. The larger firms exhibited a greater frequency of using online ads and schools,

while smaller firms utilized newspapers more than larger firms.

Larger firms and smaller firms had different experiences with hiring unskilled and skilled

workers. When hiring unskilled workers, 81.8% of larger firms and 32.6% of smaller firms

experienced some difficulty. The larger firms experienced some difficulty with hiring skilled

workers (72.7%) and 27.3% indicted it was very difficult. Some of the smaller firms (34. 1%)

had some difficulty hiring skilled workers but 61% stated it was very difficult to hire skilled

workers.

Recruitment efforts of hourly workers yielded different levels of success for larger firms

and smaller firms. In those efforts where there was a large difference between experiences by

larger firms and smaller firms, larger firms responded in greater percentages. Only in recruiting

hourly workers through newspapers did smaller firms have greater success than large firms.

Larger firms expressed hiring with more success with unions, apprenticeship programs, company

websites and word of mouth than smaller firms.

Success in recruiting quality hourly workers revealed that larger firms had more success

than smaller firms. In recruiting unskilled workers, 90% of the larger firms and 74.6% of the

smaller firms had some success or were very successful. Larger companies had more success

hiring quality skilled workers (90.9%) than did smaller firms (62.5%).


































Table 4-3. Annual Revenue by Respondent
Type of firm Total Mean Median Minimum Maximum
Subcontractor 37 $ 60.5 million $15 million $1.2 million $720 million
General contractor 26 $484.4 million $39 million $3.0 million Over $8 billion
All respondents 63 $23 8.7 million $30 million $1.2 million Over $8 billion


Table 4-1. Business Sectors Represented by Respondents
Business sector
Commercial
High rise
Government
Industrial
Multifamily residential
Single family residential
Other

Table 4-2. Business Sectors Represented by Respondents
Business classification
Subcontractor
General contractor
Specialty contractor
Construction management
Other
Design/build


Percent of respondents
80.6%
43.1%
37.5%
34.7%
26.4%
23.6%
12.5%



Percent of total
56.9%
41.7%
23.6%
18.1%
6.9%
5.6%


President
4 2%/


Proj ect


President
31%


Figure 4-1. Company Position of Respondent.










Table 4-4. Respondent Company's Total Hourly Workers
Type of firm Count Mean Median Minimum Maximum
Subcontractors 41 292 workers 100 workers 10 workers 5,000 workers
General contractors 30 152 workers 20 workers 0 workers 1,500 workers
All respondents 71 216 workers 60 workers 0 workers 5,000 workers

Table 4-5. Respondent Company's Total Salary Employees
Type of firm Count Mean Median Minimum Maximum
Subcontractor 41 76 employees 23 employees 0 employees 1,500 employees
General contractor 30 278 employees 20 employees 2 employees 6,000 employees
All respondents 72 162 employees 23 employees 0 employees 6,000 employees

Table 4-6. Age Range of Hourly Workers of Respondent
Age range Count Mean Median Minimum Maximum


I


Youngest
Oldest


20.6 years
60.5 years


20 years
60 years


17 years
35 years


33 years
83 years


60.00 0,

50.000i

40.00 0,

30.000i

20.00 0

10.00 0,

0.00 0,


SUnlskilled Workers
0 Skilled Workers


No Shortage Slight Shortage


Extreme
Shortage


Level of Shortage of Hourly WC"orkers


Figure 4-2. Respondent Experience of Hourly Worker Shortage.

















































Less Skilled More More Older More No Change Other
Workers Hispanics Workers Women
Demographics of Lab or Force

Figure 4-4. Respondent' s Experience with Changes in Workforce Demographics.


,II


- -


C


80.0%

70.0%/i

60.0%/i

50.0%/i

40.0%

30.0%

20.0%/i

10.0%/i

0.0%/i


HNo Shortage
O Slight Shortage
OExtreme Shortage


~" .V?
,t

d


Salary Employee Position

Figure 4-3. Respondent Experience with Salary Employee Shortage.


70.0%
60.0%/i
o; 50.0%/i
O 40.0%
S30.0%/i
20z.0%~
10.0%
0.0%












70.0%/i

60.0%/i

50.0%/i

40.0%/i

30.0%/i

20.0%/i


ABC AGC Other NAHB DBIA AIA ASA CMAA

Organization


Figure 4-5. Respondent's Company Memberships.


90.0%/i

80.0%/i

70.0%

60.0%

50.0%

40.0%/i

30.0%/i

20.0%/i

10.0%

0.0%


HABC

O LGC


Promotes
reentitinent
activities


Most active in Cliay
promoting participatesin
promotion


benefits from
participation


Survey Questions


Figure 4-6. Company Membership Experience with Recruitment.











50
45
S40
~Y35
30
S25
e:20
a 15
10


Industry Promotion Activity


Figure 4-7. Respondent Promotion Efforts of Construction Careers.


60.0%/i

50.0%/i

40.0%

; 30.0%/i
Unlskilled Workers

I I I I C Skilled Workers
10.0%

0.0%/i
Not Hire with Very
Diffcultto Some Diffcultto
Hire Diffculty Hire

Hi ringI E xp ri ence of Hourly Workers


Figure 4-8. Respondent Hiring Experiences of Hourly Employees.


~ o
~ bfs
P











90.0%/i
80.0%/i
70.0%/i
li 60.0%/i
o 50.0%/i
d 40.0%/i
X 30.0%
YI C III III L II I 1 IIIIb NotDone/No Success
20.0%
O Little/S ome Success
10.0%
OVery Successfu~l
0.0%




oo~p"~ sUR~crui ~tisen Aleho

Fiur -9 Rsonen' R~~ o~~erimn fot Lvlo ucs in iigHuryWres

60.0%`







10.0%ltllll 0 Sklle Woker






Figure 4-10. Respondent' s RcutetEfrsLvl Success in HiringQult Hourly Workers.








Unskilledlle (laores) 4.8












Table 4-8. New Hires
Type of firm
Subcontractors
General contractors
All respondents


of Hourly Workers per Year by Respondents
Count Mean Median
38 98 workers 48 workers
27 74 workers 20 workers
65 77.2 workers 30.0 workers


Minimum
5 workers
1 worker
1 worker


Maximum
700 workers
700 workers
700 workers


60.0%


50.0%/i

40.0%/i


30.0%


20.0% i

10.0% i


0.0%


HNot Diffcult to Hire
O Hirewfith S ome Diffculty
O Very Diffctilt to Hire


Salary Employee Position


Figure 4-11. Respondent's Experiences with Hiring Salary Employees.





11


100.0% -




90.0% -

5. -
80.0% -

70.0% -

60.0%i -

50.0%i -

OO/ -


HNorlI Do~ltN~~~eN Suce

O Little/S ome Success

O Very Successfu~l


~XX
~CC
~C~UU




a
~


C~~~
~jj~jjm Wooo
F4
o o ~ ~y ~y u
UUa, ~~
a
d~~ ""
u .4
~~ "00
b U
E o-e
0=: h3~~ ~
u~i i
-r:


S b
=;
w O
o
o


Recruitment Focus


Figure 4-12. Respondent's Recruitment Efforts of Salary Employees.


50.0% -,
45.0%
40.0%
~;35.0% -,
30.0% .
as~ 25.0% -



g 15.0%
10.0% -,
5.0% -,
0.0% -


HNo Success

O Little Success

O Some Success

SVery Successfull


-i
-

P:
~'
f`


~ ~
,~~:

9i~


Salary Employee Position


Figure 4-13. Respondent' s Success in Hiring Quality Salary Employees.





60.0% ~

50.0%/i -

40.0%/i -

30.0% -

20.0%i i

10.0%/i -

0.0% '


HNo Success

O Little Success
O Some Success

SVery Successfull


Salary Employee Positions


Figure 4-13a. Subcontractor Experience Hiring Quality Salary Employees.

60.0%/i

S50.0%/i

b3 40.0%/i

30.0%/i

I II I I I I No S
20z.0%~
OLittl

10.0% Oo

C3y "







Salary Employee Positions


Figure 4-13b. General Contractor Experience Hiring Salary Employees.


success
e Success
ieSuccess

rSuccessfu~l










Table 4-9. Respondent' s Experiences with Hiring Salary Employees
Salary employee position Response
Project manager 74.6%
Assistant proj ect manager/ proj ect engineer 72.9%
Superintendent 69.2%
Estimator 66.7%

Table 4-10. Salary Employees Hired in the Past Three Years by Respondents
Type of firm Mean Median Minimum Maximum
Subcontractor 19.2 employees 8 employees 0 employees 150 employees
General contractor 93.4 employees 7.5 employees 0 employees 2,000 employees
All respondents 58.3 employees 10 employees 0 employees 2,000 employees

Table 4-11i. Percentage of Hourly Worker Turnover within First Six Months of Hire
Situation Mean Median Minimum Maximum
Hourly workers who quit 25.9% 20.0% 0.0% 90.0%
Hourly workers laid off 13.4% 5.0% 0.0% 65.0%


40.0%
35.0%/i
30.0%/i
25.0%
20.0%/i
15.0%/i
10.0%
5.0%
0.0%/i


.i~ ,~"" t
p o~ep cOC:i~V

p ~eCi


Pay for Hourly W~uorkers

Figure 4-14. Respondent Pay Range for Hourly Workers.














/Underpaid
S3 6%
Not
j Underpaid







Figure 4-15. Respondent's Opinion of Hourly Worker Pay.

Table 4-12. Percentage of Salary Employees Retained Over Three Years
Type of firm Mean Median Minimum Maximum
Subcontractor 74.0% 80.0% 1.0% 100.0%
General contractor 70.4% 75.0% 1.0% 100.0%
All responses 71.4% 80.0% 1.0% 100.0%









CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSIONS

The research has reaffirmed what is already evident there is a labor shortage and the

construction industry is having trouble with recruiting and retaining the workforce specifically

with skilled workers. Research results show that many companies are not putting forth a

significant effort to remedy this situation. There is an extreme shortage and this problem is

getting worse, as there are now less skilled workers than five years ago. Companies continue to

utilize the familiar recruitment avenues of newspaper ads and word of mouth. These approaches

have limitations in terms of whom the companies target as potential hires. Newspaper ads are

short and do not provide the opportunity for positive promotion of the industry. Word of mouth

simply spreads at the will of the current workers who may or may not communicate the positives

which the industry as a whole needs to exhibit. Most construction workers would not let their

children pursue a skilled trade for a career path, so the effectiveness of word of mouth in

building up an already drastically strained workforce is low. Many respondents did not feel that

offering incentives would help attract more skilled workers.

Workers with considerable experience have seen how the industry has changed its attitude

towards the skilled worker and they do not promote careers in construction as a viable option.

Younger workers realize that construction is not the career choice that will give them the life

they want to lead.

It is a widespread dilemma, and it can only be solved at through the active participation

with companies, trade organizations and associations, and educational leaders. In the research, it

was found that every respondent whose company was a member of the ABC and directly

participated in the ABCs recruitment programs benefited. This was not the same for those

respondents who companies were members of the AGC. This shows that trade organizations and










associations can learn from each other and improve the methods of recruitment. Combining this

with active participation with local high schools and vocational programs could create the young

workforce the industry needs to meet demands.

Some respondents stated that their companies had programs that were aimed at bringing

awareness of the construction industry to the area youth. Companies are participating in high

school outreach and coop programs. One company has a "toolbox" set that were given to

elementary and middle school students at career days to create awareness while the children are

young.

Still, much of the industry is inwardly focused and companies only focus on their

immediate needs for workers and do not acknowledge the needs of their industry. It is up to the

larger companies to utilize their resources and to j oin with trade and industry organizations and

associations to start a recruitment campaign that refocuses the current opinion of the construction

industry. The research has verified that company high turnover rates of hourly workers may be

contributed to retention practices. This justifies the need to change the way the industry looks at

retention particularly in how workers are paid and what is included. Employers need to realize

that their workers need health care options and performance incentives. The industry has to

refocus and realize that the workers are the key to its success.









CHAPTER 6
RECOMMENDATIONS

The labor shortage problem can be solved, but it will not be easy. Through this research,

one can see that the means and methods in recruitment need to be reevaluated and possibly

reinvented. This is a different time and the needs of workers in the industry have changed and

they have more demands and expectations for their careers and employers.

Recommendations to the Industry

On the company level, it is important to evaluate how the worker is viewed. Once a

company has established the importance of its employees, particularly the hourly workers, an

approach can be devised on how to recruit workers. The company must also assess what it will

offer in training and worker benefits. Retention is more about making sure each employee

receives a paycheck every week, and various mechanisms must be explored that will help to keep

the employees on payroll.

For companies that are not able to develop a system of recruitment and training, j oining the

efforts of industry and trade organizations is a viable solution to be given serious consideration.

The reach of a organization goes beyond that of the individual company by utilizing resources

that have endless possibilities. The American Builders and Contractors (ABC) has many

programs in recruitment and training which have resulted in success by bringing more workers

into the industry. Unfortunately, the ABC cannot do this alone. Ultimate success will require

the active participation and assistance from other organizations and companies.

The youths of this county are the key individuals for building up the construction

workforce. The industry needs a fresh group of motivated and talented individuals who can learn

and implement the new technologies and techniques that are occurring in construction today.

These individuals require good pay, fair hours, health coverage, safe workplaces, quality










training, opportunities for advancement, performance-based recognition through bonuses and

perks similar to those offered to employees in managerial positions.

By j oining with local schools and pushing for the creation of programs that prepare

individuals for a trade, the industry can tackle the need for younger workers. Schools in

disadvantaged areas could incorporate programs that expose students to the various construction

trades. With active participation and input from industry leaders, the programs can successfully

train and recruit these students and give them a great opportunity in life. To be successful, there

has to be more than just the promise of a job and paycheck.

The industry needs to change the current image of a construction worker. The negative

view is an incorrect one, but may seem valid due to the composition of the current workforce due

to the impact of the shortage. This image can be changed, and it will have to be done through

means of promotion and advertisement. For example, a career as a dentist was for many years

viewed as a very demanding career leading to suicide. This was attributed to taboos about

having to looking at so many mouths a day. In the last two years, a enormous surge in applicants

to dental schools has changed the landscape of how schools conduct admissions procedures.

This can also occur for construction. One day, the industry could experience a surge in the

interest in the skilled trades, but this is a goal that is far in the future.

Recommendations to Researchers

Further research can be done concerning the labor shortage, particularly with company

recruitment, training, and retention. This research intended to review and evaluate company

recruitment and retention plans, but unfortunately companies were unwilling to provide these

documents. Review of such documents could shed light on what specific actions are being

implemented by companies, and how improvements can be made to increase the success of

hiring individuals for the industry.









Research into the recruitment methods utilized by construction companies and a further

analysis of their effectiveness could give insight on how greater success might be achieved in

hiring quality workers. This research identified the methods companies are utilizing in recruiting

workers and established what level of success, if any, the methods exhibited. Further study could

uncover some unknown issues that are possibly deterring the industry's ability to recruit

sufficient numbers.

An evaluation of how construction's image can be changed and finding effective means of

communicating a positive message could help increase the labor force. In the July 17, 2006 issue

of Engineering News Record, an article titled "Growing Work Force Crisis Requires An All-Out

Blitz" suggested creating a recruitment campaign similar to the one that took place during World

War II when the U.S. War Department launched the "Rosie the Riveter" campaign which

allowed women to work in factories and other non-traditional jobs while the men were serving in

the military. What is important about that campaign is that the barriers once keeping women

from working in such arenas were forever eliminated. A similar type of campaign combined

with the programs of industry and trade organizations has much potential. Research into

effective means of accomplishing this would be beneficial.

Programs in high schools and vocational schools could be evaluated to determine what is

successful in current programs regarding the education of new construction workers in various

trades. Through research and evaluation, other schools could adopt and implement such

programs that train individuals who are not college bound in the construction trades.

Ultimately, considerable research has been conducted to define the worker shortage

problem and what is happening right now to try to remedy the situation. More research needs to










be done that gives the industry solutions to implement. Through research and active

participation from industry leaders, the problem of the labor shortage can be solved.
























~__


APPENDIX A
INTERNATIONAL REVIEW BOARD SURVEY APPROVAL LETTER


Po Box '22250
Gainesville, FL 32611-2250
352-392-0433 (Phone)
352-392-9234 (Fax)
frb20imfL~edu


DATE:






FROM:


November 9, 2006


Staci Bartlett
304 Rinker Hall
Campus
Ira 5. Fischler, Chair~Ot
University of Florida
Institutional Review Board


SUBIJECT: Approval of Protocol #2006-U-0977
TI'TLE: South Florida Wlorkforce Shortage: Finding Success in Recruitment and
Retention
SPONSOR: None


I am pleased to advise you that the University of Florida Institutional Review Board has
recommended approval of this protocoL. Based on its review, the UFIRB determined that this
research presents no more than minimal risk to participants, and based on 45 CFR 46.1 17(c r:
authorizes you to administer the informed consent process as specified in the protocol.

If you wish to make any changes to this protocol, including the need to increase the number
of participants authorized, you must: disclose your plans before you implement them so that
the Board can assess their impact on your protocol. In addition, you must report to the Board
any unexpected complications that affect your participants.


If you have not completed this protocol by November 2, 2007, please telephone our office
(392-0433), and we witt discuss the renewal process with you. It is important that you keep
your Department Chair informed about the status of this research protocoL.


ISF:di


An Equal Opportunity Institution


IlStitutional Review Board
UFUNIVERSITY of FLRIDA J










APPENDIX B
SURVEY COVER LETTER

Cover Letter for 1Recruitment & Retention Survey



November 1, 200i6

To: Upper Management

Sub~ject: Successful Recruitment and Retention Practices of SOUth Florida Construction
Companies

We, the M. E. Rtinker, Sr. School of Building Construction at the University of Florida, are
conducting a study to explore current successful practices in recruitment and retention of
construction compares in South Florida, The focus of the study is to assess practices the
industry is culrre-ntly implementing to address the current w~orkfo~re shortage in construction.
When possible, inl~cmanlcn is sought regaurding documented recruitment and retention plans.
Specific information is also sought on recruiting hourly workers and salary employees.

The survey questionnaire contains a variety\ of questions related to the current workforce
shortage, recruitment efforts. and retention. Masny of the questions can be answered by sipy
checking the applicable answers. There are no direct benefits or risks associated with
participating in this study and the survey can be comnpleted in about ten minutes. Naturalls. you
do not have to answer questions you do not wish to answer. Your participation is voluntary and
> ou may w~ithdraw i our consent at anytime without penalty.

The results of this study wNill be compiled and a summary report will be prepared. As a token of
our appreciation for participating in the study, we will provide a copy of the summary report to
you at no charge. Should you have any questions please feel free to call me at the telephone
number providedl below or contact me at the email address shown below.

Responses provided by specific fim will be kept strictly confidential to the extent provided by
lawY. Research data wrill be sumarized so that the identity of individual participated will be
concealed. You have my sincere thanks for participating in this valuable study.

Yours truly,


Staci `Bairdrtr
Graduate Student, M.E. 1Rinker Sc-hool of Buildling Construction at the U~niv ersity of Florida
Phone: i352) 262-0974 Fax: (352) 392-4537 Email: stacibartlectr~igmail.corn

P.S. For information about participant r~ighjts, please contact the Un!rilersity of Florida
Institutional Review Board at (352) 392-0433 or Emnail: IPLB2 ;I ull.cedu.


A~pproed by
University~ if krid.1
Institutional Review Board 02
Pr..I>.l # 2006-U-977
For Use Thllrouch I1-02-20071










APPENDIX C
SURVEY


The Company

Which of the following business sectors best describe company projects? (4l all that apply)
C Commercial 0? Industrial O High-rise 0 Government
C Residential: Single-]Family 07 Residential: Mlulti-Family 0 Other:

What is the business ian ssification of the company? (y' all that apply)
C General Contractor 03 Specialty Contractor 0 Construction Management
C Subcontractor 03 Design/Build O Other:

What is the approximate annual revenue of the company? $ Million

What is the position of the person filling out this survey? (Please 4 one):
C President 0 Vice President C3 Senior Project Manager
0 Project M/anager O Other:

How may hourly field workers does the company normally have on payroll? Workers

Hlow many salary employees does the company currently employ? Employees

What is the current age range of the company's field workers? Youngest~ Oldest

Labor Shortapse

Is the company currently experiencing a shortage of labor? O Yes O No

If yes, how serious is the shotage for the following hourly workers? (4l ali that apply)
Unskilled Workers (laborers) Oj None 0 Slight 01 Extreme
Skilled Workers (welders, electricians, etc) OI None 0 Slight 0I Extreme

Is the company experiencing a shortage of personnel for mnoagerial and supervisory positions?
O Yes C No

If yes, how serious is the shortage for the followYing positions? (u' all that apply):
Superintenrdents O] None 0 Slight 0 Extreme
Asst. Project Managers/ Project Enagineers 0 None 0 Slight 0 E~xtreme
Project Managers O None 0 Slight 0 Extreme
Estimators O3 None 0] Slight 0 Extreme
Accountants O7 None 0 Slight 0 Extreme
Purchasing Agents 07 None 0 Slight 0 Extreme

How have the demographics of the industry~ workforce changed in the past 5 years? (4\ all that apply)
-1 No Change 0I Miore Hispanics C More Older Workers O More Women
C1 Less Skilled Workers C Other:




























Does the company promote or publicize employment opportunities in construction? (4l all that apply)
[7 Does not apply 0 Sponsor Events O Monster.com (Online Ads) O Ads in local paper
0 High School & Middle School Career Fairs OI Ads on TV 0 Other:

Hourly Worker Recruitment

What is the experience of the company in hiring the following hourly workers? (4I all that apply)
Unskilled Workers (laborers)
O Not difficult to hire 0 Hire with some difficulty 0 Very difficult to hire
Skilled Workers weldersr, electricians, etc.)
O7 Not difficult to hire 0 Hire with some difficulty 0 Very difficult to hire

If the company does recruit any of the above hourly employees, please answer the following:

When recruiting hourly workers, where does the company focus its efforts and how successful are they?


Is the company a member of any of the following trade associations or industry organizations?
(Check all that apply):
0 AGC 07 ABC 0 ASA 0 NAHB 0 CMAA 0 DBIA 0] AIA
C Otherss:


Do any of these organizations promote activities to recruit workers for the industry?


Oi Yes 0! No



O Yes O No

O Yes O7 No


If yes, which organization is most active?


Does the company directly participate in any of these recruitment activities?

Has the company directly benefited from these recruitment activities?


Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful


Newspapers 0
High Schools O
Vocational Schools C
Community Colleges O
Trade Organizations O
Union Organizationzs O
Industry Publications O
Apprenticeship Programs O
Company Website 0
Online (Ilnternet) O
Word of Mouth 0
Other: 0


Not done
Not done
Not done
Not done
Not done
Not done
Not done
Not done
Not done
Not done
Not done
Not done


No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success


O7 Little
n Little
O3 Little
O Little
07 Little
OI Little
O Little
O Little
OI Little
O7 Little
0 Little
O1 Little


Some
Some
Some
Some
Some
Somne
Some
Some
Some
Some
Some
Some


How would you rate the company's overall recruitment efforts in obtaining quality hourly workers?
Unskilled Workers laborersrs: 0 No Success O Little 07 Some 0 Very Successful
Skilled Workers (welders, electricians, etc.): 0 No Success O Little 07 Some 0? Very Succes~lul

When recruiting hourly workers, does the company offer incentives for employment?
Unskilled Workers (laborers) O Yes [7 No
Skilled ItoderLIS (welders, electricians, etc,) O Yes [7 No


How many hourly employees does the company hire each year?


Workers


Company Recruitment












Salary Empsloyee Recruitment


What is the experience of the company in hiring the following salary employees? (II all that apply)
Sukperintendents O Not difficult to hie 0 Hire with some difficulty 0 Very difficult to hire
APMs/PEs* 0 Not difficult to hire 0 Hire with some difficulty 0 Very difficult to hire
Project Managers O Not difficult to hire 0 Hire with some difficulty 0 Very difficult to hire
Estimators O Not difficult to hire 0 Hire with some difficulty 0 Very difficult to hire
Accountants O Not difficult to hire 0 Hire with some difficulty O Very difficult to hire
Purchasing Agents 0 Not difficult to hire O Hire with some difficulty 0 Very difficult to hire
*APMs: Assistant Project Managers, PEs: Project Engineers

if the company does recruit any of the above sdalry employees, please answer the following:

When recruiting salary employees, where does the company focus its efforts and how successful are they?


Newspapers Oi Not done
High Schools O Not done
Vocational Schools O~ Not done
Community Colleges O Not done
Universities/Colleges O Not done
Career Fairs O Not done
Apprenticeship Programs O Not done
Union Organizations O Not done
Trade Organizations O Not done
Industry Publications O Not done
Cmnplany Website 0 Not done
Online (Internet) O Not done
Word of Mouth 0 Not done
Other: 0] Not done


No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success
No Success


Little
Little
Little
Little
Little
Little
Little
Little
Little
Little
Little
Little
Little
Little


Some
Some
Some
Some
Some
Some
Some
Some
Some
Some
Some
Some
Some
Some


Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful
Very Successful


How successful are the company's recruitment efforts in obtaining quality salary employees?
Superi'ntendlents O No Success O] Little 07 Some 0 Very Successful
Asst. Project IManagers/Project Engineers O No Success O Little 0 Some 0 Very Successful
Project Managers O No Success O Little 0 Some 0 Very Successful
Estimators O No Success O Little O Some 07 Very Successful
Accountants O7 No Success O Little 0i Some 0 Very Successful
Purchasing Agents O? No Success O Little 0 Some 0 Very Successful

When recruiting salary employees, does the cornpany offer incentives for employment?
Supgerintendents O Yes O7 No
Assistant Project Managers/Project Engineers O Yes O7 No
Project Managers O Yes O No
Estimators O Yes O No

H~ow many new salary employees has the company hired within the past three years? ~Employees











Company Retention Practices

Hourlyv Workers

How many hourly workers quit within the first six months of being hired? %

How many hourly workers are laid off within the first six months of being hired? %

How competitive is the pay for hourly workers?
O Not competitive 07 Below Average 0 Average 0 Above Average 0 Very Competitive

In general, do you feel. that workers in the construction industry are under-paid? O1 Yes O No

Salary Emplloyees

What percent of salary employees have been with the company for over three years? %


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Thank. you for taking the time to fill out this survey.

Does the company have a written recruitment and/or retention plan? If so, I would greatly appreciate the
company providing copies with the survey responses for use in this study. Note that all information will
remain anonymous.

Thank you,

Staci Bartlett
352-262-0974

(Optional) Please provide the following information if you would like to receive a copy of the research
results.

Contact Name:

Contact Mailing Address:






Contact Number:









LIST OF REFERENCES


Borcherding, J.D. (1972). An Exploratory Study of Attitudes That Affect H~uman Resources In
Buidling and~ndustrial Construction. California: Stanford University.

Brown, Jr., B.H. Markus, A.M. (1988). Recruitment Training and Employment of Construction
Craftsmen in Florida: Impediments and Recommendations. Gainesville, Florida: School
of Building Construction. University of Florida.

Business Roundtable (BRT) (1983). More construction for the money. Construction Industry
Cost Effectiveness Project, Summary Rep. The Business Roundtable, Houston.

Center to Protect Workers' Rights (CPWR) (2006). The Construction Chart Book, ThirdEdition:
Section 15. Retrieved March 21, 2007, from
http://www. cpwr. com/p dfs/pub s/chartb ook_02/page%/20 1 5.pdf

Construction Users Roundtable (CURT) (2001). CURT work force development survey results.
The Construction User Roundtable. Cincinnati.

Garrity, K. (March 8, 1999). No easy solution to construction labor shortage. Seattle Daily
Journal of Commerce. Retrieved September 6, 2006, from
http://www.djc.com/special/construct99/1 0050580.html

Pappas, M.P. (2004). An Assessment oflmplementation Requirements for the Tier II
Construction Workforce Strategy. Austin, Texas: University of Texas.

Poole PhD, K.E. Salem PhD, P.L. White PhD, M. McNamara, S. Allardyce, J. ACCRA. (2005).
A Workforce Needs Assessment of the Arizona Construction Trades Industry. Arizona:
Arizona Department of Commerce.

Srour, I.M., Haas, C.T., Morton, D.P. (2006). Linear Programming Approach to Optimize
Strategic Investment in the Construction Workforce. Journal of Construction
Engineering and Management. 132, 1158-1166.

Tucker, R.L., Haas, C.T., Glover, R.T., Alemany, C., Carey, L.A., Rodriguez, A., Shields, D.
(1999). Key workforce challenges facing the American construction industry: An interim
assessment. Rep. No. 3, Center for Construction Industry Studies. University of Texas at
Austin. Austin, Texas.









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Staci Fawn Bartlett was born on June 18, 1982 in Manhattan, New York, to John and

Francene Bartlett. She has two siblings, a brother and a sister. At the age of 7, she lost her

mother to suicide, and at the age of 11, she lost her father to cancer. She was adopted by

Raymond and Ruby Johnson shortly after her father' s death.

Staci graduated from Coconut Creek High School in 2001 and was in the top 10 of her

class of over 500 students. She was accepted into the University of Florida and started attending

in the summer of 2001. She initially maj ored in interior design, but soon changed her focus of

study to architecture in order to not limit her education and employment opportunities. Staci

completed her Bachelor of Design with a maj or in architecture in May of 2005.

Staci decided to pursue a master's degree in building construction prior to completing her

study in architecture due to her lack of knowledge of the practicalities in constructing a building.

Staci graduated in May 2007 and works for a construction management company in South

Florida.