One of the most apparent outcomes of the pandemic is the change in the workforce. While some have become accustomed to taking advantage of income subsidy options and are now reluctant to return to work, many others have determined full-time onsite employment is not the best fit for their lifestyle. Either way, the result is a shortage of qualified workers.
Now layer in the fact that many of the most experienced workers are retiring with 50% of facilities personnel to retire in the next 10 years. The amount of historic knowledge in those who are exiting the workforce in conjunction with the drop in investing in trades has led to an increase in contract work coupled with a drop in options for specialty skills.
The demands for high-skill labor in maintenance and reliability are incredible. Yet, an ever-present and ever-growing “skill gap” exists. If we don’t start becoming creative, our infrastructure could possibly collapse by the next generation. After all, electricity still needs to run, roads need to be paved and with more and more reliance on equipment, that needs to be upkeep as well.
What Can We Do?
Facilities executives need to plan for a new world of facilities management where workplace safety is paramount and remote working becomes an increasingly commonplace operating model. The workplace must evolve to embrace new operating models. With organizations globally reviewing their workplace technology strategies, executives should use this opportunity to create a better experience for talent, reduce costs and build in better resiliency.
The key is to accelerate the move from paper-based to digital for critical processes. Many facilities management processes are still dependent for on-site personnel utilize paper-based systems. With a move towards more remote working, firms should speed up the digitization of crucial data – to empower building management by off-site teams. Many buildings are managed using rigid processes such as planned maintenance around calendar schedules. With building occupancy becoming increasingly in flux, firms need to ensure that building services such as cleaning and maintenance can be easily updated based on demand.
What is a maintenance technician? As employment in manufacturing has gradually eroded, skilled technical workers—varyingly called trade workers or specialized craft workers have received little attention among social scientists, but many of these occupations remain a viable pathway to the middle class for millions of Americans and play a critical role since maintenance techs maintain the nation’s economic productivity using skilled technicians processes. Thus, a more precise understanding of these occupations and their training requirements lead to better policy reforms that enhance individual well-being and national economic vitality. Using wages to gauge middle-skilled occupations can be misleading because workers in the middle of the wage distribution may be relatively unskilled but compensated well because of union contracts or other characteristics of the industries in which they commonly work. Likewise, some low-wage occupations may be relatively skilled but experiencing negative wage trends as a result of trade, immigration, or technological change. Using educational requirements also runs into difficulty because there is tremendous variation in the technical skills of people who have the same level of education.
Skilled technical workers are found in a diverse array of occupations. Indeed, of the 22 major occupational categories – only five have zero occupations that meet the criteria. Most skilled technical workers are in “blue collar” occupations: installation, maintenance, and repair; construction; production; protective services; and transportation and material moving. Yet, many are in traditionally professional occupational families. The second largest group—representing 3.3 million jobs—is health care practitioner and technical occupations, and the fifth largest group—representing 0.82 million workers—is a computer and mathematical occupations. Architectural and engineering occupations comprise another 0.65 million.
Skilled technical occupations disproportionately employ workers with sub-bachelor’s level higher educational credentials. Almost one-quarter of skilled technical occupations report a postsecondary certificate as their highest level of education, compared with only 6% of all other workers. This makes a certificate the most common level of education besides a high school diploma for skilled technical workers. Another 15% of skilled technical workers have earned an associate’s degree, compared with 6% of all other workers. Relative to the rest of the US workforce, skilled technical workers are much more likely to have a postsecondary education beyond a high school diploma but less likely to have earned a bachelor’s or higher degree.
How Do We Do That?
Focus in technology investments which bring a high ROI and a long shelf life. Rely on technology such as Maxpanda CMMS instead of people to manage your facilities management needs. Team communication and cost tracking is at the heart of your business. It’s these things that connect your entire organization and have the biggest impact on your culture and productivity. Book a free demo to see how it can help your organization bridge the gap.