Wednesday, 22 October, 2008 8:50 PM
Think Good Help is Hard
to Find Now? Think again.
poll shows building trades already suffering from graying workforce;
worst yet to come
years, the first of the baby boomers – the largest workforce
in U.S. history – will retire. With a shortage of workers
to replace them, this poses a serious challenge to employers, particularly
in the skilled trades industry.
An important factor not to be overlooked, however, is what that
shortage is going to mean to homeowners long used to being able
to get a qualified plumber, electrician or other skilled trade professional
at a moment’s notice.
“Our most highly rated service companies are finding it difficult
to get young people in to replace their veteran workers and nearly
one in four of them plan to sell their business or close up shop
when they reach retirement age,” said Angie Hicks, founder
of Angie’s List, the nation’s leading provider of consumer
ratings on local service contractors. “This is going to have
a quick and significant effect on both availability and price of
these professional services.”
Angie's List (www.angieslist.com)
recently surveyed nearly 500 service companies across the country
and asked business owners how they will cope with the graying workforce.
45 percent said there is a shortage of workers who want to enter
62 percent plan to pass costs on to consumers if they have to pay
more to retain or train workers
32 percent are taking steps to prepare for a transition from a graying
workforce to less experienced employees
More than 75 million babies were born between 1946 and 1964, making
the baby boomer the largest generation in American history. The
generation that followed, Generation X, includes about 46 million
people, not nearly enough to fill the huge gap that will be left
once baby boomers retire. Adding to the challenge is the fact that
Gen-Xers were raised with an emphasis on moving into white collar,
rather than blue collar, or skilled trades.
“We’re facing a shortage of workers in general, but
an even greater shortage in skilled trades,” Hicks said. “While
homeowners may find it harder to find available, reliable and high-quality
help around the house for a time, the shortage offers a great opportunity
to people nearly ready to enter the workforce.”
A recent global poll of business owners showed skilled trades at
the top of the most-wanted list. The Angie’s List poll revealed
a shared frustration amongst business owners in need of qualified
candidates for jobs in the carpentry, electrical, masonry, plumbing
and welding trades.
“Companies are encouraging their veteran workers to stay on
past retirement. Others are encouraging apprenticeships and mentoring
programs, where veteran workers train their replacements,”
Angie’s List recommends finding a contractor with whom you
can build a long-term relationship.
are 6 tips for hiring a quality contractor:
around. Ask neighbors and friends who have had work done
for references. If you’re new in town, or don’t
know anyone who has had similar projects done, check Angie’s
your research. Don’t just hire based on a conversation.
Check the performance record of the contractor you plan
to hire. If your contractor balks at providing references,
move to the next one on your list.
references: Get names of previous customers and find out
if they were pleased with the work and the timeline of the
project, as well as if they’d hire the contractor
again. Get the names of subcontractors and ask if they work
with the contractor often and if the contractor pays on
contact info: Be cautious of contractors who give you a
post office box with no street address, or use only an answering
into licensure: Some states or cities have no licensing
requirements for contractors, which can make it difficult
for homeowners to check up on contractors before they hire.
Don’t rely on the contractor’s word to know
whether his or her license is valid: check it out through
the appropriate agency. Angie’s List members have
access to a list of sites where you can check the licensure
status of service providers. Check the status of the contractor’s
bonding and liability insurance coverage too.
your payment options. Never pay for a project with cash;
always use a credit card so you have recourse in case something
goes wrong. Before you sign off and make the final payment,
check that the work is complete.
*460 service companies responded to the survey. Responses are representative
of service providers rated on Angie’s List, but not the general
Angie’s List is where thousands of consumers share their ratings
and reviews on local contractors and companies in more than 340
different categories. Currently, more than 650,000 consumers across
the U.S. rely on Angie’s List to help them find the right
contractor or company for the job they need done. Members have unlimited
access to the list via Internet or phone; receive the Angie’s
List magazine, which includes articles on home improvement and maintenance,
consumer trends and scam alerts; and they can utilize the Angie’s
List complaint resolution service. Get more information about Angie’s
List at http://www.angieslist.com
Read Angie’s blog at http://www.angiehicksblog.com.
Source: Angie's List