McCarthy’s Contribution to Filling the Need for Skilled, Construction Industry Workers
Ask any leader in our industry to name the greatest challenge they’re facing, and they’re likely to respond with the lack of skilled workers. In 2018, the Associated General Contractors of America noted that 80% of construction firms reported difficulty in recruiting craft workers for their jobs. In North Texas, we’ve seen this firsthand as the market continues to offer great opportunity with ongoing demand for construction work. All of us in this industry recognize that our ability to deliver a project successfully is entirely dependent on the quality of talent we deploy.
Working with industry partners like TEXO and CEF, we are all focused on creating a more robust pipeline of skilled trade talent. As a selfperform builder, McCarthy recognized we have an opportunity to contribute to the solution ourselves and have deployed internal and external initiatives designed to combat this challenge head on.
1. The need for skilled craft workers is facing all of us, from trade partners to general contractors and up to owners. In the face of this challenge, salaries have increased along with demand. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics salary survey, on average, a career in construction trades stands to command nearly the same weekly salary as that of an individual who earned a bachelor’s degree. Given the reduction in time to earn an education in the trades versus a traditional college degree, pursuing a trade career stands to offer less in education debt, meaning more take-home pay, earlier in a career.
Educating our upcoming workforce on the opportunities a career in construction can provide is one step in McCarthy’s effort to fill our pipeline of workers. Our recruiting efforts are now aimed at the junior high and high school level, to educate students and parents on career opportunities in the construction industry.
To help fill our immediate need, we developed an internal Craft Training Program. We hire unskilled workers interested in learning a trade and train them ourselves, at our own cost, on trades like carpentry, concrete, site work, safety, and more; all with a focus on the McCarthy standards of safety and quality. Our traveling craft trailer is deployed across the region, providing bilingual training on the safe use of power tools, scaffolding, basic layout, scheduling, equipment operation, and more.
McCarthy’s craft training program is designed to get interested individuals into our company and train them to become skilled craft workers. We then retain those workers and deploy skilled craft teams on projects across the area. Drive by any McCarthy jobsite in the area, and you’ll see a call to action for those interested in a skilled craft career to get in touch. Because of the amount of construction activity we foresee in our market, these are long-term positions working for a company with over 155 years of proven success.
2. In 2017, we created the McCarthy Partnership for Women. This group is focused solely on tapping into the female workforce to fill roles in construction. Despite the ongoing push for increased diversity across the industry, in 2016, women compromised only 9% of the construction industry workforce according to the National Association of Women in Construction.
Our Partnership for Women has focused on a more diverse recruiting process, where our female workforce is part of every college recruiting effort. In addition, we are involved at the high school level, working with area school districts to inform both students and parents that the construction industry is a viable career option for both men and women – in management via the college degree route and in the trades. Additionally, we regularly reach to our female employee-owners with opportunities to learn skills typically enjoyed by our male colleagues in an effort to feel more included in industry events, e.g. in North Texas we hosted a golf lesson outing in the spring and have a clay shoot training scheduled for this fall. Further, the partnership networks with female colleagues in this and other male-dominated industries.
“This is a great time in our industry and a great time to be in North Texas as the amount of development we’ve been enjoying looks as though it will continue,” said Joe Jouvenal, Executive Vice President in McCarthy’s Southern Region. “With our focus on developing highly skilled craft talent as well as diversity of thought, both inside our organization and outside with the trade partners we rely upon, we are well positioned to deliver projects that contribute to the quality of life we enjoy here.”
Recently, McCarthy was given an opportunity to walk our talk, serving as construction manager at risk on the ongoing Collin College Technical Campus project, located in Allen, Texas. The Technical Campus is a 360,000-square-foot facility specializing in high-demand, technical workforce education. The project also includes a 177,646-square-foot trade building for technical and trade classrooms including open lab spaces, mechanical, electrical and plumbing shops, welding shops, auto shops, carpentry shops, and campus support areas. Upon completion, this facility stands to benefit us all as it graduates educated trade workers into our market, and we are so excited to have played a small part in helping the industry.