Top 3 Nationwide Trends in Glazing and Cladding

Feb 17, 2022

The glazing and cladding industries encompass a wide range of construction practices, ideologies, and principles, but by and large operate the same way today as they have for the last 50 years. However, there are factors in play in the current market that are forcing change even upon companies who do not want it. These factors are well covered by news outlets and we don’t need to go back over them here. But regardless of the market, there is one consistency in the specialized subtrade of facade contracting: the need to hire experienced talent. Let’s discuss some overarching trends that our industries face in the pursuit of talent acquisition.

Hiring Needs are Alive and Well in Glazing and Cladding

The labor shortage is not a new phenomenon, and it has created problematic gaps in the construction workforce since the Great Recession more than a decade ago. Unfortunately, those issues are still prevalent in the facade sector, and the market continues to be short on solid, qualified candidates. From the field to the shop floor and up to the C-suite, there are hiring needs at nearly every company. Engineering and project management candidates are the most in-demand within the glazing sector, but there are needs at every level. As the industry rebounds and projects ramp up, employers need more and more staff to meet the demands of their increasing workload. This is true from coast to coast, but the Southeast most consistently presents as the “hot” market in the country.

Stable Companies Demonstrate Strong Backlogs

While some companies have struggled to rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have weathered the storm and are growing and pursuing new projects consistently. In order to identify which companies are thriving and therefore might make a great landing place, candidates should check into a company’s backlog. A consistent schedule of up-and-coming projects shows candidates that a company has great momentum and is not floundering to capitalize on current market conditions. The time is ripe to consider new career opportunities, and these companies with strong backlogs are a great place to start your search.

A Little Flexibility May Go A Long Way

A top-shelf candidate recently came onto the market in search of a new job. What was his motivation? His previous employer sent the entire staff to work from home for 8 months during the height of the 2020 pandemic. The candidate’s commute was erased, he got to have breakfast with his children before school, and when they left on the bus, he began his work. By the time the bus dropped them off in the afternoon, he found that he’d accomplished twice the amount of project management duties that he’d accomplished at the office. Need to take the dog to the vet? No problem. Client calls at 8:30 p.m. with a pressing issue? No problem; he was right back at his computer. Work and life took on a harmonious and balanced tone - one he’d never experienced before. When his previous employer called all the Project Managers back into the office, the candidate tried to be a good sport about it, but he had found his calling as a remote employee. When he suggested an arrangement of working remotely part time, he received blank stares. The company’s unwillingness to be flexible had become a deal-breaker, and the candidate sought a company that better understood today’s market. This story is a common one, and these types of conflicts are one of the top contributors to the so-called Great Resignation.

The option of working from home or in a flex capacity, even part time, is the number-one request candidates have for new employment opportunities. Similarly, candidates are looking for flexible PTO and vacation policies, as the importance of work-life balance has come into sharp focus over the past several years. Offering that flexibility can help bring high performers on board, and contrary to popular belief, increased PTO and remote work options do not reduce productivity – great employees will produce effectively no matter where they work. It’s in their DNA.

No trend applies to every company in every corner of the glazing and cladding markets, but these three observations cropped up in organizations of every size and in nearly every major geographic market nationwide. Facade companies who wish to grow and thrive would do well to keep these trends in mind as they refresh and refine their processes and procedures going forward.

About the Author

Bo Stevenson

Bo joined Kimmel & Associates in 2018 as an Associate. He worked for several months in our Logistics & Supply Chain Division, and now he dedicates his relationship-building skills and commitment to service to our Cladding and Curtain Wall Division.

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