October is Careers in Construction Month, making this a good time to reflect on what our industry – and our company – has to offer in a very competitive job market.
While some industries are jittery about the mixed economic signals, construction hiring is not letting up. That’s because we can’t. The shortage of qualified construction, craft, and support professionals presents an ever-present challenge for our industry, even with some sectors slowing down. Especially noteworthy for Robins & Morton: FMI predictions place the healthcare sector within the “stable” category,” with a 3% increase this year over 2021 and 5% increase for 2023. That’s consistent with the continued strong demand we’ve seen from existing and new healthcare clients through 2022 and continuing into 2023. This is providing us with a dependable and continuous rate of new work.
And while healthcare is the majority of our work, we have a diverse portfolio of current and pending projects across other sectors, including hospitality, higher education, government and commercial buildings. This has landed us rankings across many of Engineer News-Record’s (ENR) top-100 listings. Our company is growing, but most importantly, our growth is organic. That gives us confidence as we hire to support our growth.
Also, our industry – and many clients – learned a hard lesson after the Great Recession: you can’t just hit pause. Building takes time; even with in an uncertain economy. Clients in many sectors can only wait so long and still be ready for the inevitable rebound. The tremendous pent-up demand that followed the Great Recession is another factor contributing to the construction professional shortage. At the same time, construction has yet to regain the 1.5 million workers Federal Reserve Economic Data says we lost following the financial crisis of 2008. Associated Builders and Contractors estimates construction needs more than a half a million workers to meet current demand.
Not surprisingly, FMI predicts residential construction will likely fall off from its recent steep climb, but still settle near pre-pandemic levels – which will still require new hires. FMI forecasts also show nonresidential building remaining stable through 2026 and nonbuilding structures (such as infrastructure) will continue to increase. In other words, we can expect the construction labor shortage to continue even if the economy softens.
Dependable, rewarding and meaningful work
All of that is encouraging news for those in, or entering, construction careers. Opportunity awaits, with very, very competitive wages. At Robins & Morton, we also know that today’s workforce expects more than “competitive wages and benefits.”
We continue to refine our benefits, adding features while holding the line on team member costs. In updating our benefits offerings, we focus on the unique needs of our people. Our health plan works across the country, while telehealth and virtual care options along with wellness benefits go beyond the basics. An employee assistance program that serves the entire family, as well as independent financial planning and free care.com memberships, help meet the day-to-day needs of our team members.
We’ve also implemented unique benefits based on our knowledge that our people are defining themselves by more than their careers. In a shift from previous generations, employees don’t want to, and shouldn’t have to, work their entire lives. For example, we fund our retirement savings contribution through profit-sharing, which has enabled us to contribute at a higher level than most 401k plans. Second, unlike most companies, our 401k contribution is not based on participation. This means we provide the full contributions to every eligible team member’s 401k, regardless of their contribution level. During the last 20 years, Robins & Morton’s profit-sharing plan has averaged 8% of each eligible team member’s base salary. In 2021, we ramped it up to 10% — exceeding the industry average profit-sharing contribution by more than 60%.
The opportunity to make a difference and a culture of caring
The Great Resignation, The Great Reassignment – whatever you call it – has also made clear that compensation alone isn’t enough to attract and retain people. People want to feel that their work has meaning beyond clocking in and clocking out. A career at Robins & Morton offers the opportunity to be part of something that creates a tangible, lasting difference. We build the spaces where people live, work, shop, learn, gather and heal – the structures that define our communities.
At Robins & Morton, we capture that in our employment brand – “Be a True Builder®.” We want to offer opportunity to those fascinated with the building process, and who want to be part of a team that shares the same passion and sense of purpose. True Builder® also reflects our company’s purpose: “To make a positive, lasting difference through the things we build and do.”
We recognize that providing the opportunity to make a difference starts with our culture. We work hard to foster teams that work collaboratively, respecting and listening to each other and treating each other like family. We have a responsibility to provide opportunities for career growth and to strive for a healthy work-life balance. Our newly created NextGen Young Professionals group is helping develop and the team members who will lead our company in the future. Our Veterans Mentorship Program provides peer support to those transitioning from military to civilian positions.
Our Robins & Morton Family Table approach to diversity, equity and inclusion is guided by facilitators representing the diversity within our company. The Family Table also creates a safe place for our team members to address any “uncomfortable silences.”
And, finally, to attract people who share our values, we must always act ethically and responsibly.
All of this aligns with the core of the principles that have guided us from our beginning, expressed now in Our Mission: Exceed the expectations of our clients and our people.
These efforts pay off. Glassdoor named Robins & Morton to their 2022 list of Best Places to Work, as did the Birmingham Business Journal and Orlando Business Journal. We are especially proud of these awards because they are based on our team members’ feedback.
At Robins & Morton, we attribute our success as a company directly to our people. During Careers in Construction month, we’ll highlight a few of those people in our social media channels, and I invite you to follow along. And if you, or someone you know, is interested in learning more about what it means to be a True Builder® at Robins & Morton, please visit the careers section of our website.