I’ve talked with a number of field service leaders recently about their struggles in finding and hiring good talent. Then last week, NPR posted this article that really caught my eye. The article talks about how there is an anti-trade job mentality being instilled in today’s youth. It made me wonder how much this issue has had an impact on the field technician shortage the industry is facing today.
The article provides some statistics that illustrate the problem. For instance, it states that “according to the Associated General Contractors of America, 70 percent of construction companies nationwide are having trouble finding qualified workers.” And that the state of Washington reports there are “already more trade jobs like carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and pipe-fitting than Washingtonians to fill them.” In the adjacent trucking industry, USA Today reported Friday that the trucking industry projects a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers by 2022.
While I realize the NPR article and these statistics aren’t directly applicable to all field service roles, I would argue that there is some relevancy in what the article refers to as a “branding issue.” For a variety of reasons, the next wave of potential employees are not overly interested in field service jobs. While you can’t control those reasons or singlehandedly solve that problem, you can certainly look at this from the perspective of how you could better brand the role to make it more appealing. You also might want to think about expanding your search for potential employees outside of your typical avenues. It seems women are somewhat of an untapped (or underutilized) market; for certain jobs it could make sense to start recruitment at an earlier stage – as the NPR article discusses, these perceptions are formed largely in high school. Overall, as the field service role has evolved, so too should the methods you’re using for finding the next generation of your workforce.
Better Branding For Field Service Recruitment
Besides recruiting in different places, think about how you can better brand the field service role. I’d suggest examining ideas such as:
There’s no easy solution to this problem, and I think it will continue to be a struggle. But I do think there’s an opportunity in the fact that the field technician role is so quickly evolving. It will be up to field service leaders to redefine that role in a way that makes it more relevant and more appealing.