AEC Tech Workers are in High Demand – How to Retain Your Employees

February 4, 2019

The construction and design industries are in the midst of the largest boom we’ve seen in decades, and that growth has led to a shortage of technically skilled workers to get the jobs done. The shortage of construction tradespeople has grown so dramatically that according to the most recent Association of General Contractors study, over 80% of all construction firms are struggling to find sufficient personnel to complete the work they already have, and many are turning away new projects because they can’t find sufficient staff. It’s not just construction firms, but nearly everyone in the design/build industry is facing a worker shortage. There is a dramatic shortfall of CAD techs, designers, estimators, BIM/VDC staff and a hundred other positions that companies are struggling to fill so they can meet their work demands. In the study, more than half the respondents expect the shortage to become far worse over the next few years.



Following the 2008/2009 economic collapse, the AEC industry saw a mass exodus of workers to other, less impacted industries. Over the last decade, our community has been seen as too susceptible to economic change for new workers to enter it in large numbers. That, coupled with a slow return from the bad times of the 1st half of this decade, have left everyone of us with the dilemma of having too much work, and not enough skilled people to handle the load.


So, how much worse is it going to be if you lose your best people to the competition? It’s become a cut-throat market, and poaching has become a way of life in this industry. Of the firms listed in the AGC study above, 62% reported increasing base pay and benefits to attract new workers, and 56% raised pay for their salaried technical staff to keep the people they have. Now, there’s no way to avoid that . . . sometimes you just have to spend money to make money. There is, however, another tool that the smartest AEC firms are using to retain their technical staff: they’re training them!


Believe it or not, staff training - particularly technical/software related - is actually one of the most cited reasons why people stay at, or leave, their positions. Lack of professional growth and training is one of the top three reasons people leave a job. 46% of the firms listed in the AGC study are actively engaging training programs to both retain staff and to make them more efficient and effective in their positions. At the end of the day, we can’t make bodies magically appear to handle the workloads we carry, but we can make the people we have better at what they do, and give them better tools to make things go faster and run smoother.


That’s where ZenTek Consultants comes in. We’re an AEC technology support and training firm dedicated to helping you choose the right technology systems for your firm, configure them to your specific needs, train your people on how to use them, and even provide ongoing support so you have someone to turn to for help when problems arise. We can help with every step of the design/build process. From preliminary design and layout, to detailed CAD design, cost estimating, project communication and collaboration controls, business software (including CRM and ERP), and Document Management tools and processes. Reach out today and let’s talk about how we can optimize your current systems and help train your staff so they’re not walking out the door when you need them most!


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