The Great Resignation Provides Profitable Opportunities in the Construction Sector

Phoenix Masonry is growing and looking to hire more talented workers.

“It’s never too late to become who you want to be,” iconic writer F. Scott Fitzgerald once said. “I hope you live a life that you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.”

Think about this: Moneypenny recently conducted a survey that found a startling 93 percent of Americans aren’t pursuing their dream jobs. The coronavirus pandemic made many people reassess all facets of their lives, particularly at the professional level. To validate this assertion, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, 3.9 million Americans quit their jobs in June alone.

“Our research has revealed just how many of us are struggling to feel inspired with our day-to-day work and how many Americans are feeling unhappy within their role right now,” Joanna Swash, Group CEO of Moneypenny, said in a statement. “The past 18 months has made some of us reconsider what is most important to us.”

Because of the mass exodus of employees vacating their companies, there were more than 10.9 million job openings at the end of July. An associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, Anthony Klotz, coined this phenomenon “The Great Resignation.” Perhaps not coincidentally, The Great Resignation is occurring at a time when the economy has rebounded and is stronger than it was pre-COVID-19. Moreover, economists predict that the recovery will continue through the remainder of the year and into 2022. Despite the uptick in economic growth, many industries, including the construction sector, are staring at staffing shortages. As of June, the United States Department of Labor says that the construction industry remains down approximately 238,000 workers from pre-pandemic figures.

What Spurred The Great Resignation?

At the height of the pandemic, when 43 states implemented stay-at-home orders, some people faced extended periods of downtime. This interlude provided them with an opportunity to reexamine their livelihoods and consider alternatives.

“Most people don’t evaluate their job satisfaction every one of 365 days in a year,” said Brooks Holtom, a professor of management and senior associate dean at Georgetown University. “Those shocks usually happen idiosyncratically for people. But with the pandemic, it’s happened en masse.”

Gallup pinpointed three reasons why people are resigning in droves: They don’t see advancement opportunities, aren’t aligned with a company’s mission, and don’t enjoy strong relationships at work. The chief executive officer (CEO) of Denver-based marketing agency Paige Black, Mike Black, noted that employees now have leverage over employers. Black also recommended ways that employers can attract and retain top-flight professionals.

“The Great Resignation presents a shift in some of the control in the hiring process from employers to employees,” Black said. “Some of the drivers for this change are likely temporary; however, some changes are here to stay. Savvy employers are looking at their culture, communicating purpose more clearly, and building plans to attract the right employees.”

How Can Employers Give Employees Reasons to Stay?

The bottom line is abundantly clear: With millions of unfilled positions in a slew of sectors, employers need to foster positive workplace cultures to entice their employees to stay. After all, the cost of turnover and recruiting new workers is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Employers need to recognize their employees’ contributions, embrace transparency, seek feedback for ways to upgrade processes, be respectful, and establish an environment that promotes physical and psychological safety. Essentially, more than anything, it’s all about caring. To improve employee satisfaction, the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Paige Black, Marilyn Heywood Paige, tries to position and empower her employees to succeed.

“I try to understand what employees enjoy doing in their roles,” Paige said. “If there’s any way to give them more of the types of assignments they like, I will always do that. It’s good practice to understand what skills employees want to develop and where they want to go in their careers. It gives me the opportunity to find projects to help them grow in the ways they most want.”

Jobs in the Construction Industry

Although the labor crisis is handcuffing multiple industries, it is especially hampering the restaurant, retail, hospitality, and construction sectors. But here is the thing for both passive and active job seekers to realize: Unlike these other hard-hit industries, construction jobs are steady, and gainful. For reference, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a construction worker on average earns $14.63 more per hour than a restaurant, retail, or hospitality employee. Construction jobs also offer ample opportunities to learn, develop, and ascend.

“You can earn a great living while you learn. If you have the desire to learn multiple crafts, we’ll teach you multiple crafts,” Michael Bellaman, the president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors, said. “Our members invested $1.3 billion last year in upskilling their existing workforce.”

The average U.S. construction worker is aged 42.6 years. Thus, with an aging workforce, now is the time for people in the 18- to 40-year-old age bracket who are tired of working in the restaurant, retail, and hospitality sectors to consider a career in construction. This is particularly true because the great majority of C-level construction executives are willing to educate novices and prepare them to flourish in the industry.

Women Should Consider Careers in the Construction Industry

Christy Crook became one of the few women in America to own a masonry company when she established Thornton, Colorado-based Phoenix Masonry Inc. in August 2010. Phoenix Masonry specializes in commercial projects and has contributed to multiple noteworthy projects across the Centennial State, including Wadsworth Storage, the pedestrian bridges at Fox and Federal, and the Stanley Marketplace. In addition to an impressive project portfolio, Crook’s staff grew 30 percent between 2017 and 2019. Despite such rampant growth, Crook is always interested in acquiring more talented workers, especially women.

How to Attract Women to the Construction Industry

Unfortunately, primarily due to gender bias, the words “women” and “construction” aren’t typically associated. Nonetheless, the gender pay gap in the construction industry is basically nonexistent, with women earning an average of 99.1 percent of what men do. So, the question becomes: How can the notion of women working in construction become destigmatized for the betterment of the industry and the U.S. workforce? Schillivia Baptiste, who owns the construction firm Laland Baptiste, believes that women need more exposure to the industry at young ages.

“I think there is not enough introduction at the elementary and middle school grade age of what young girls can be,” Baptiste told CNBC. “I think it starts there, and before you get to high school you’re choosing a high school that has something you want to study, and then by the time you get to college you’re able to make a decision and say, ‘OK, this is what I want to do.’”

Paige agrees with Baptiste and added that she’s urged many of her girlfriends to mull a career in construction.

“I’ve told several young women that construction is a good career path worth their consideration,” Paige said. “College is an expensive place to figure out what you want to do with your life. Construction offers a career path straight out of high school with good pay and benefits. You may join a construction firm and find your career path or you may earn a good living while you figure out where you want to go. Either way, it’s a win-win.”

Jobs at Phoenix Masonry

The Great Resignation is still underway, and its conclusion doesn’t appear imminent. The coronavirus pandemic has made many employees fearful for their personal safety and recognize how unhappy, for multiple reasons, they are in their workplaces. Crook, an active member of the American General Contractors Association, Rocky Mountain Masonry Institute, and the National Association of Women in Construction, is outspoken in her beliefs that construction and masonry workers often enjoy sustainable, long-term careers. Furthermore, Phoenix Masonry maintains a safe and healthy working environment, appreciates your contributions, and offers limitless advancement opportunities. Hence, now is the ideal time for jaded and disillusioned workers to seek a more rewarding livelihood in construction.

If you care about integrity, quality, honesty, and transparency, then you should contact us today for a more fulfilling tomorrow. As F. Scott Fitzgerald eloquently said, “It’s never too late to become who you want to be. I hope you live a life that you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.” We hope you have the “strength to start over” and rise with Phoenix.