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RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION INT CONSTRUCTION
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
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.
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
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............. ...............4.....
LIST OF TABLES ................. ...............7..___ .....
LIST OF FIGURES .............. ...............8.....
AB S TRAC T ..... ._ ................. ............_........9
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....
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
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
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
Staci Fawn Bartlett
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 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
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.
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).
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.,
"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
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.
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).
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
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 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
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).
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.
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Single family residential
Table 4-2. Business Sectors Represented by Respondents
Percent of respondents
Percent of total
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
0 Skilled Workers
No Shortage Slight 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.
O Slight Shortage
Salary Employee Position
Figure 4-3. Respondent Experience with Salary Employee Shortage.
ABC AGC Other NAHB DBIA AIA ASA CMAA
Figure 4-5. Respondent's Company Memberships.
Most active in Cliay
Figure 4-6. Company Membership Experience with Recruitment.
Industry Promotion Activity
Figure 4-7. Respondent Promotion Efforts of Construction Careers.
I I I I C Skilled Workers
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.
YI C III III L II I 1 IIIIb NotDone/No Success
O Little/S ome Success
oo~p"~ sUR~crui ~tisen Aleho
Fiur -9 Rsonen' R~~ o~~erimn fot Lvlo ucs in iigHuryWres
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
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
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.
HNorlI Do~ltN~~~eN Suce
O Little/S ome Success
O Very Successfu~l
o o ~ ~y ~y u
0=: h3~~ ~
Figure 4-12. Respondent's Recruitment Efforts of Salary Employees.
as~ 25.0% -
O Little Success
O Some Success
Salary Employee Position
Figure 4-13. Respondent' s Success in Hiring Quality Salary Employees.
O Little Success
O Some Success
Salary Employee Positions
Figure 4-13a. Subcontractor Experience Hiring Quality Salary Employees.
I II I I I I No S
Salary Employee Positions
Figure 4-13b. General Contractor Experience Hiring Salary Employees.
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%
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%
.i~ ,~"" t
p o~ep cOC:i~V
Pay for Hourly W~uorkers
Figure 4-14. Respondent Pay Range for Hourly Workers.
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%
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
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.
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
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.
INTERNATIONAL REVIEW BOARD SURVEY APPROVAL LETTER
Po Box '22250
Gainesville, FL 32611-2250
November 9, 2006
304 Rinker Hall
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
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.
An Equal Opportunity Institution
IlStitutional Review Board
UFUNIVERSITY of FLRIDA J
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
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.
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.
University~ if krid.1
Institutional Review Board 02
Pr..I>.l # 2006-U-977
For Use Thllrouch I1-02-20071
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
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
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?
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
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?
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
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
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
What percent of salary employees have been with the company for over three years? %
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
(Optional) Please provide the following information if you would like to receive a copy of the research
Contact Mailing Address:
LIST OF REFERENCES
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Buidling and~ndustrial Construction. California: Stanford University.
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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.
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Garrity, K. (March 8, 1999). No easy solution to construction labor shortage. Seattle Daily
Journal of Commerce. Retrieved September 6, 2006, from
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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
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Austin. Austin, Texas.
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