Talent Development in Construction

Talent Development in the Construction Industry

A focused look into the 2015 FMI Industry Survey

At the end of last year (2015), FMI put together a study on recruiting and retaining quality talent in the construction industry with emphasis on the shrinking pool of skilled labor. The following is an overview of a few select key points to take away from the market study.

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The skilled labor shortage is affecting construction firms.

From 2007 to 2009, the recession resulted in 8.2 million job losses in the construction industry. Since then, there have only been 6 million jobs added. This means 2 million skilled labor positions have not been replaced. “Construction firms are at the highest risk of going bust: By taking on too much work with not enough well-qualified labor. Progressive companies are heavily investing in building their capacity in project management by innovating in areas such as professional development, communications, knowledge management, technology and prefabrication, among other things.”

Companies in the construction industry lack the processes required to develop and promote employees who are high-performing.

“In today’s tight labor market, building the best team can be a major competitive advantage for any organization. Surprisingly (or not), the industry is slow to adapt to today’s changing workforce needs. This is reflected by the fact that 69% of construction companies, industry wide, do not have a formal process for developing high-potential employees.” More-so, it is found that most companies often dedicate resources to employees who aren’t suited for advancement. On the contrary, companies on the leading edge are putting into effect bench-marking systems linking employee data to overall organization performance, advancing associates strategically and appropriately.


Executives and field managers are expected to have the highest attrition rates over the next five years.

Sixteen percent of industry executives will turn over in the next five years and fourteen percent of field managers will move into new endeavors in the next five years. The astonishing finding that goes with this statistic is that thirty-two percent of organizations in the construction industry have a succession plan in place for their executives, while a mere five-to-six percent have a plan to replace their field managers. To make up for the shortage, “some of the more progressive companies are concentrating on fast-track leadership programs to advance less experienced field employees within a short time frame.”

The study references opinions of many different industry leaders, one spoke frankly about this issue; “because of the limited quantity of skilled labor available, we took many of our (industry’s) highly-skilled craftsmen and developed them into supervisors in which they would help manage less experienced workers. These craftsmen went from being welders one month to foreman the next month. This doesn’t mean they are good quality supervisors; mentoring and leadership skills are different from technical expertise.”


Coming out of the “Great Recession,” the number of construction projects has dramatically increased while at the same time the number of capable construction companies has dramatically decreased. Harmon is dedicated to being innovative and creative in developing and retaining top talent in order to deliver a superior product while reducing risk and managing cost in what is quickly becoming one of the tightest labor market in history.

The information from this study can be accessed in its entirety HERE.

Have questions?

Want to know what we’re doing to develop our talent or how our talent can help you with your next project? Call 913.962.5888 or contact us here.