JDB Engineering vice president Scott D. Butcher, FSMPS, CPSM has now been blogging on the Engineering News-Record website (www.ENR.com) for more than a year, authoring over 30 blog posts. His blog covers aspects of marketing and business development for architectural, engineering, and construction firms.

Scott D. Butcher, FSMPS, CPSM

Woman engineer

Prior to the Great Recession, there was much talk in the design and construction industry about the impending talent shortage. As the recession neared, the drumbeat grew louder. And then, suddenly, executives weren’t as worried about finding talent as they were about bringing in enough work to keep the talent they already had.

The last national recession officially ended in June 2009, although most firms in the industry would probably dispute that end date. But as work slowly returned to A/E/C firms, the conversation again returned to the talent shortage. Engineering firms recovered more quickly than architectural firms. Construction firms, which experienced the recession impacts after design firms, were the last to see the effects of the economic recovery.

Baby Boomers who had planned to retire, but held off because their nest eggs shrank, soon began planning their exit strategies. And once again, the conversation turned to the shortage of qualified workers, whether it be specific engineering disciplines, skilled craftsman, or young architects – many of whom left the industry during the recession, never to return.

Survey after survey identifies the current and forthcoming challenges related to workforce. Baby Boomers, including senior firm leaders, are retiring and taking much knowledge with them. Architecture and engineering schools are seeing student populations from all over the globe, but many of these foreign students in American colleges are returning to their home countries upon graduation, taking their training and talent with them. The A/E/C industry is getting squeezed from both sides. In fact, it was only a few years ago – with architects experiencing extremely high unemployment rates – that some media were ranking architecture as one of the worst career choices, discouraging students from majoring in the profession. (Just reference a January 5, 2012 headline in The New York Times: “Want a Job? Go to College, and Don’t Major in Architecture”!)

And yet there is a rather large elephant in the corner, and the industry in general is not doing enough to address it……Continue reading Scott’s blog post on www.ENR.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *