The brokers at the West Palm Beach boat show this year spoke of a lack of inventory—and yet, thousands of boats are still on the market.  At car dealerships, one hears that inventory is low due to manufacturing shutdowns and other pandemic-related issues—and yet, the car lots are still full of cars, both new and used.  The Florida real estate market has a reduced supply of homes in certain price ranges due to the influx of professionals migrating to Florida.

Everywhere, irrespective of the actual numbers, one hears that it is a seller’s market for homes, boats, and cars.

In whatever you are purchasing, including when hiring, you can increase the available inventory by expanding your search statewide, nationwide, or even beyond the United States.  How far your reach goes for inventory is determined by timing, logistics, cost, and your value of provincial knowledge.

With respect to cost, oftentimes candidates entering the market from out of the area may lack local experience with building codes and officials, sub-contractors, local trade vendors, and other particulars of the local market.  However, they often bring dedication, work ethic, communication and leadership skills that offset or expedite their learning curve and ability to acclimate to new territory.  Established local talent can be costly due to supply and demand of those who have continued to learn and grow while remaining coachable and trainable to the new modus operandi.

The construction industry is one of the industries that has widespread compensation ranges for specific trained, management, administrative, and accounting roles.  Although titles and responsibilities have some general standardization, so much differentiates a candidate’s value depending on how, when, where, and from whom their experiences came.  A project accountant for a contractor doing public works through award of a design-build contract may need full training and understanding of their roles and responsibilities if he is going to a contractor performing work for private clients on a ‘cost-plus’ contract.  The same holds true of a Project Manager responsible for heavy civil projects switching to vertical building.  Project Management may have similar processes, but the knowledge of the industry market segment: its nuances, contracts, and overall documentation process widely differs, making time in the role potentially valuable for specific project types.

What are three mistakes construction hiring managers make when it comes to acquiring staff in a candidate market?

  1. They set unrealistic compensation ranges to attract candidates to meet their expectations. Compensation ranges need to account not only for the right base level skillset and experience but also for the soft skills and personal attributes that accompany the candidates who deliver on expectations. There are no perfect candidates, but there are candidates who require less supervision because of their training and emotional intelligence.
  2. They assume that once a candidate accepts the job, he is off from the market and fully committed. Statistics show more candidates change jobs within the first year of hire than after multiple years. The first year is when expectations are brought into reality, and a time when candidates are often still receiving recruitment calls.
  3. When reviewing or interviewing, they compare the compensation range of the person with whom they are interviewing to themselves or others when they were the same age, experience level, title, etc. But that might not always be a realistic estimate for the present.  Oftentimes those in executive roles with a company started at lower compensation to prove themselves, as they knew the timing, circumstances and their own capabilities would get them to the role they hold presently. Unless you are looking to fast track someone again, compensation may be necessary for long term contentment in a set role.

Hiring in Construction Management is much like courtship.  Those with the highest expectations want a match with those who are most likely to meet their expectations.  The size of the compensation package is relational to what someone is willing to accept to get in the door.  After the honeymoon is over, they may ask for more to stay. Expectations with respect to responsibility, compensation and career path create stability and understanding in the relationship.  The truth behind that understanding is played out over time by both sides through action and result.  Throwing money at someone only buys their happiness for a time.

Our annual salary survey is posted for you HERE.

To Your Right Match,

Suzanne Breistol


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