Fighting the Labor Shortage Means Developing a Dedicated Recruiting Program

Reaching out to local schools and colleges can be a great way for contractors to find prospective employees. Baker Roofing sponsors Shed Day, an event in which trade school students build sheds that are auctioned off. Photos: Baker Roofing

The roofing industry and the trades in general are facing a labor shortage of epic proportions and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. When the recession of 2008 hit, the construction industry lost 600,000 jobs. According to GlobeSt.com, a recent report from the Associated General Contractors of America shows that 79 percent of construction companies want to hire more employees this year, but the industry is only estimated to grow its workforce by 0.5 percent annually for the next 10 years. This means competition for workers is fierce.

Baker Roofing, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, has implemented an aggressive program to recruit the labor they need. According to Brendan Hale, regional operations officer and former director of career development and recruiting, the company had to shift its approach to recruiting. “We used to only advertise when we had open positions,” explains Hale. That method turned out to be challenging, and they recognized that they needed to try something different. Like a sales pipeline, they realized they needed to create a hiring pipeline in order to have a pool of candidates in the funnel when positions opened.

To build that pipeline, the company increased its online activities. “We’ve got a heavy presence online through social media, staying on top of the latest trends,” says Hale. “We are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Snapchat with the goal of publishing content that could be of interest to younger people.”

Baker Roofing maintains a strong presence on job boards too, with hiring ads rolling throughout the country to create awareness of their company and the opportunities. The company also relies heavily on word-of-mouth referrals from current employees, friends and family. “People choose to come here because they have confidence in the types of people who work here,” states Hale.

Partnering With Local Schools and Colleges

“We do a lot of outreach with local high schools, especially in Raleigh,” explains Hale. “We sponsor Shed Day where all throughout the state, the trade classes build these sheds that they auction off and our head of recruiting is on the board. We donate time, materials, and money and talk to the kids broadly about construction but more specifically about a career at Baker Roofing.”

Baker Roofing donates time and materials, and its employees help educate students about construction, the roofing industry and career opportunities at the company. Photos: Baker Roofing

Hale notes the company tries to have a corporate presence throughout the schools in their service areas and assists the local offices with building the relationships when they can. “We’re a big company with 22 offices. Right now, we’ve got a presence in the high schools in Charleston, South Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina; Asheville, North Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia. Every year we try to grow that a little bit with the staff that we have and the resources we have.”

Baker Roofing is a big believer in internships for college students. The company hires interns throughout the company in accounting, recruiting, construction management and estimating. The students work for Baker Roofing over school breaks, and the company has programs in place so that they possibly can be hired full time.

“We are a growing company and we know that people are your most precious resource; if they spent the time with us and we feel they have the right cultural expectations, morals and ethics, we can typically find a spot for them here,” says Hale.

Veterans Are a Resource

Baker Roofing has also turned to the pool of veterans who are looking for work after leaving the service and reserves. “We have a large number of our employees who are veterans,” Hale says. “We have a registered apprenticeship program, so we try to appeal to veterans where they can get started with us, learn the industry from the ground up and utilize their GI Bill benefits.”

When Baker Roofing hires veterans and places them into the registered apprenticeship program, the veterans can receive money from their GI benefits in addition to the paycheck that they are receiving as a Baker Roofing employee. “As they are getting promotions and moving up within the company, the GI benefit begins to taper off. By the time they complete the three-year program, the idea is that they would be on their feet in a stable and long-term position,” explains Hale.

Starting a Strong Recruitment Program

Hale says it’s tough to share advice on how to start and build a strong recruitment program because there isn’t one simple answer. “For smaller contractors, it’s going to be harder. There isn’t a silver bullet out there that will solve all the problems,” says Hale. “It takes a variety of strategies. For a smaller contractor who may have a smaller team, it’s difficult to assign these kinds of tasks to someone who already has a full-time job doing something else.”

Baker Roofing has hired a number of veterans, who can start a registered apprenticeship program while also receiving a paycheck as a Baker Roofing employee. Photos: Baker Roofing

A full-time recruiter is ideal, according to Hale. “Ideally if a company has the capability, they need a champion who does this, and it needs to be their full-time focus. In order to sustain it someone has to constantly be working on it and thinking about it,” he says.

Benefits are important, too. Hale says that Baker Roofing employees have access to company benefits including health insurance, dental, vision, short-term and long-term disability, a 401(k) that offers a match. They also offer a clear guide for employees, so they understand what it takes to advance within their career, and they understand what the opportunities are within the company.

If contractors don’t have the manpower or resources to do it on their own, it’s possible to get involved with the many other organizations who are already looking at recruiting into the trades. SkillsUSA and Keep Craft Alive are two initiatives that may offer an opportunity for a roofing contractor or someone on the team to volunteer and help introduce the youth involved to the idea of a career in roofing.

Another area to think about tapping into for recruiting is the female workforce. There is a small percentage of women in the roofing industry overall, and the National Women in Roofing (NWIR) wants to change that. NWIR recently surpassed 1,200 members, and one of the organization’s efforts is the recruitment of women into the industry. NWIR is exploring initiatives that partner with organizations serving women in crisis to help those women get back on their feet and show them what a career in roofing could be like for them.

About the author: Karen L. Edwards is a marketing consultant for the roofing industry and director at the Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3). For more information about the Roofing Technology Think Tank, visit www.rt3thinktank.com.

Roofing Sponsorship Secures Contractors More Jobs

An exclusive roofing category sponsorship between IKO and HomeAdvisor, members of IKO’s contractor programs now have access to project leads in their local regions to help them land additional jobs.

“In addition to offering a full suite of roofing products and accessories, one of the best ways to help our contractors close more sales is to connect them directly with people who are looking for a new roof or repairs in their area,” says Jeff Williams, brand director, IKO North America. “That’s what our partnership with HomeAdvisor is intended to do, help our contractors secure more leads to close more jobs locally.”

Current and new members who enroll in IKO’s contractor programs, IKO ShieldPRO plus+ (SPP) and IKO Shield, can enjoy exclusive membership perks and special benefits on HomeAdvisor, including discounts and rebates on real-time leads, a customizable profile, and verified ratings and reviews, among other benefits. When an owner searches for a roofing project, IKO is presented as the exclusive roofing sponsor in the initial category results on the HomeAdvisor website, giving the brand increased awareness among a number of consumers seeking local contractor professionals.

“HomeAdvisor offers pros the ability to reach project-ready owners via mobile, smart phone devices and Facebook,” says Scott Weigel, vice president of business development for HomeAdvisor. “And, by using HomeAdvisor’s on-demand scheduling tools, owners can speak with pros or book appointments directly on their calendars, providing value for IKO and its members.”

The sponsorship is expected to help build IKO’s brand and product awareness through a custom content hub where homeowners can view photos, watch videos, learn about products or redeem special offers. Additionally, IKO branding will also be featured in HomeAdvisor’s home and building partner network, including sites such as Build.com, 1800Contractor, Realtor.com, ImproveNet.com and more. 

DeWALT Expands Initiative to Manufacture Products in the U.S.

DeWALT, a manufacturer of industrial power tools, hand tools and accessories, announces the expansion of its initiative to manufacture products in the U.S. With this expansion, an additional 60 corded and cordless power tools are being made domestically with global materials. An expansion of production into an existing company-owned plant in Greenfield, Ind., brings the total number of DEWALT plants in the U.S. to seven, with facilities in Connecticut, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, making some of the brand’s most popular tools.

DEWALT will now produce approximately 14 million products each year in the U.S. Given a choice between a product made in the U.S. and an identical one made abroad, 78 percent of Americans would rather buy the American product, according to a 2013 survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

In addition to the efficiency that domestic expansion provides, DEWALT has also created new jobs for Americans across the country, adding more than 500 employees to the expanded manufacturing facilities since the campaign began. This brings the total number of employees at U.S.-based DEWALT plants to the thousands. DEWALT is also committed to hiring veterans and currently employs more than 1,000 former members of the military in its manufacturing facilities alone.

“We continue to grow our domestic capabilities because the professional using our tools wants to buy products made in the U.S. DEWALT is making the power tools for the contractors and builders who are themselves building America,” says Frank Mannarino, president of DeWALT Professional Products Group. “Whether it’s through our high-quality tools made in the U.S. with global materials, convenient service repair centers, or products backed by extensive warranties, the DEWALT professional end user can expect premium power tools that are made and serviced by fellow Americans—some of whom are veterans—right here in the U.S.”

With the added products, facilities and a continued commitment to expanding domestic manufacturing, DeWALT is able to deliver products with greater efficiency, without adding cost, while keeping the same Guaranteed Tough quality customers have come to know and expect from the brand.

GAF Provides Programs and Training in Support of Military Members and Veterans

GAF announced that it has signed the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Statement of Support. The document recognizes the pivotal role played by the National Guard and Reserve in strengthening our nation and our communities. The signing sends a strong message of support to GAF employees (and non-employees) who have served our nation.

The ESGR Statement of Support complements other key initiatives GAF has undertaken to benefit military veterans, servicemen and servicewomen. They include:

  • The Roofs for Troops military rebate program, launched in 2012, provides active military members, veterans and retirees a $250 rebate on a Lifetime Roofing System installed on their roof by a GAF Factory-Certified Contractor. GAF is now approaching 20,000 homes successfully helped by this program.
  • Last year, GAF went live with its Hire-A-Hero military job board. The job board provides a platform for employers in the roofing industry to connect with transitioning troops and veterans as they seek to fill key positions within their companies. GAF contractors and distributor partners are posting jobs, viewing applicants and connecting with ex-military job seekers.
  • GAF is rolling out GAF Roofing Academy, a roofing installation training program to help veterans transition to a career in the roofing industry. Pilot classes have been successful as nearly 80 percent of class attendants were placed in roofing jobs. We are currently planning classes in various regions over the next year, including a class this month at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. The course includes access to a professional and comprehensive steep-slope roofing primer and a high-level commercial roofing introduction. Veterans win by learning a valuable trade with solid earnings potential. The knowledge that they acquire from this course could possibly lead to other careers including sales, estimating, installation supervision, maintenance and project management.
  • GAF regularly reaches out to veterans’ organizations to assist with fulfilling recruiting needs. For example, GAF has worked with employment agencies such as the Lucas Group, which have a focus on connecting those who have served in the U.S. military with jobs upon their return from service.

“The men and women who have served in America’s armed forces have demonstrated remarkable character, work ethic and dedication in their service,” says Bob Tafaro, president and CEO. “They represent a tremendous opportunity for GAF, for the roofing industry and for the broader private sector. We want to help veterans leverage the talents and leadership skills they have acquired through their service to transition into civilian careers.”

Ecotech Institute Clean Jobs Index: 1.2 Million Green Energy Jobs Posted in First Quarter

Ecotech Institute’s Clean Jobs Index reported more than one million green energy job postings across the nation in the first quarter of 2015. The Clean Jobs Index classifies clean energy jobs based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics description, which says that clean jobs are jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. The classification also includes jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.

Ecotech Institute, a school dedicated solely to renewable energy and sustainability, created the Clean Jobs Index to provide objective information about renewable energy jobs and to compare states’ use and development of clean and sustainable energy.

“As more businesses look for ways to conserve energy and renewables continue to gain traction, more jobs are becoming available,” says Chris Gorrie, Ecotech Institute’s president. “States have come to see clean energy sources as an important piece of infrastructure, opening the door to great opportunities in renewable energy.”

Highlights from the Clean Jobs Index Q1 2015

    Number of U.S. Clean Jobs Postings in Q1 2015:

  • 1.2 million
    Top three states with the most clean jobs openings:

  • California – 131,215 job openings
  • Texas – 90,281 job openings
  • New York – 71,748 job openings
    States with the highest rise in clean jobs openings, compared to Q1 2014:

  • Rhode Island
  • New York
  • Texas
  • North Carolina
  • Maryland
    States with most clean jobs per 100,000 people:

  • North Dakota
  • Iowa
  • Rhode Island
  • Colorado
  • Wyoming
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • South Dakota

Ecotech Institute’s Clean Jobs Index is an aggregation of statistics by state. Although it may indicate a greater possibility for employment in the clean economy sector, the Clean Jobs Index in no way indicates the presence or the promise of any specific job opportunities. Data for the index is gathered regularly from independent research entities including: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Green Building Council.

WalletHub Small Business Study: Best and Worst Cities to Work

The personal finance social network WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2015’s Best & Worst Cities to Work for a Small Business.

In order to help job seekers consider small businesses as attractive employment prospects, WalletHub examined the small business environment within 100 of the largest U.S. metro areas across 11 key metrics. Our data set includes such metrics as net small business job growth, industry variety and earnings for small business employees.


    Best Metro Areas to Work for a Small Business      Worst Metro Areas to Work for a Small Business 
 
1
 
 
Charlotte, N.C.
 
 
91
 
 
Springfield, Mass.
 
 
2
 
 
Raleigh, N.C.
 
 
92
 
 
Tucson, Ariz.
 
 
3
 
 
Oklahoma City, Okla.
 
 
93
 
 
Augusta, Ga.
 
 
4
 
 
Austin, Texas
 
 
94
 
 
New Haven, Conn.
 
 
5
 
 
Omaha, Neb.
 
 
95
 
 
Bakersfield, Calif.
 
 
6
 
 
Nashville, Tenn.
 
 
96
 
 
Fresno, Calif.
 
 
7
 
 
Salt Lake City
 
 
97
 
 
Scranton, Penn.
 
 
8
 
 
Dallas
 
 
98
 
 
Toledo, Ohio
 
 
9
 
 
Houston
 
 
99
 
 
Stockton, Calif.
 
 
10
 
 
Boston
 
 
100
 
 
Youngstown, Ohio
 


Key stats:

  • The number of small businesses per 1,000 inhabitants is two times higher in the Miami metro area than in the Bakersfield, Calif., metro area.
  • The earnings for small business employees adjusted for cost of living are three times higher in the Houston metro area than in the Honolulu metro area.
  • The median annual income adjusted for cost of living is two times higher in the Ogden, Utah, metro area than in the McAllen, Texas, metro area.
  • The unemployment rate is four times higher in the Fresno, Calif., metro area than in the Provo, Utah, metro area.

By 2042, the Cape Coral, Fla., metro area is projected to experience the highest population increase, at 103.4 percent, and the Youngstown metro area the highest population decrease, at 11.1 percent.

Employment App Makes It Easy to Find Construction Jobs and Job Seekers

Snagajob, an hourly employment marketplace for job seekers, announced the release of its free mobile app for iOS and Android, designed to meet the unique needs of those seeking to hire construction workers, builders or contractors for hourly employment.

Snagajob, an hourly employment marketplace for job seekers, announced the release of its free mobile app for iOS and Android, designed to meet the unique needs of those seeking to hire construction workers, builders or contractors for hourly employment.

Snagajob, an hourly employment marketplace for job seekers, announced the release of its free mobile app for iOS and Android, designed to meet the unique needs of those seeking to hire construction workers, builders or contractors for hourly employment. The free app makes the job posting/hiring process easier by using a smartphone’s or tablet’s video, photo and GPS technology. Employers can currently post jobs for free via the app’s free trial promotion.

Snagajob offers a new way for employers to find and manage applicants on their mobile device. With Snagajob, employers can conveniently use their mobile device to:

  • Manage their account’s status and add additional postings for multiple locations
  • Access and review applications for each job posting and quickly see their availability and qualifications
  • Find qualified prospects in their area and then reach out via phone or email and encourage them to apply
  • Easily rank/sort applicant and “star” the applicants they want to interview and note the ones they are not interested in.

The app’s “Video Apply” feature allows employers to view a short clip that candidates can include with their application and lets them gauge the personality fit and enthusiasm of applicants before scheduling an interview, thus saving time and energy for both job seekers and employers.

Snagajob is currently used by thousands of employers across the country across a wide range of vertical markets including retail, food service, transportation, hospitality, child care and more.

Sen. Cardin Reintroduces Bill to Increase Employment and Improve the Energy-Efficiency of Commercial Building Roofs

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), has reintroduced the “Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Jobs Act,” S. 2388, which would boost job creation in the construction industry and significantly increase the energy efficiency of buildings throughout the U.S., lowering energy costs and saving money. The bill would improve investment returns on building energy-efficiency improvements by shortening the tax depreciation period for the installation of new roofs on existing buildings that meet certain thermal performance and “cool roof” requirements.

“We don’t need to choose between good jobs and helping the environment; we can do both with the same policy,” said Senator Cardin. “Cool Roofs provides an opportunity to reduce energy consumption and add nearly 40,000 jobs to a sector of our economy that still has not felt the full effect of our emergent recovery. It’s no wonder this bill, which provides incentives to install energy efficient roofs and simplifies the tax code, has such broad support across industries and labor.”

S. 2388 is co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). Sen. Cardin also filed the Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Jobs Act as an amendment (S. Admt 3186) to the EXPIRE Act (S. 2260). U.S. Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) have introduced a companion bill in the House (H.R. 4740).

The bill reduces the depreciation period for commercial roof retrofits, lowering the current 39-year depreciation period in the current tax code to a 20-year depreciation period for energy-efficient cool roof systems. To qualify, roofs must include systems with insulation that meets or exceeds the ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2011, a model green building standard, and have a cool roof surface in climate zones one through five.

“Congress recognizes the value of commercial building roofs in terms of both national energy policy and providing an incentive for owners to increase the thermal performance of their buildings,” said Jared O. Blum, president, Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA), a supporter of the bill. “Most buildings in this country were built before modern energy codes were in place, so upgrading the performance of those buildings with more energy efficient roofs can save lots of money.

“The legislation also offers a more fair treatment of roofs under the tax depreciation system. As currently structured, the tax code has created a disincentive for building owners to upgrade their roofs,” added Blum.

The Energy-Efficient Cool Roofs Jobs Act has attracted a wide range of supporters, including PIMA. The bill would create nearly 40,000 new jobs among roofing contractors and manufacturers; add $1 billion of taxable annual revenue in the construction sector; make the tax code simpler and more equitable for small businesses of all types; reduce U.S. energy consumption and save small businesses millions of dollars in energy costs; and reduce carbon emissions by 800,000 metric tons—an amount equal to the emissions of 153,000 cars. Additional supporters include:

Alliance to Save Energy
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association
Associated Builders and Contractors
Building Owners and Managers Association
Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Global Cool Cities Alliance
Institute for Market Transformation
Joint Roofing Industry Labor and Management Committee
National Roofing Contractors Association
NAIOP: The Commercial Real Estate Development Association
Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance
United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers

A significant opportunity to increase building energy efficiency lies within the commercial roofing sector. Waterproof membranes on commercial low-slope roofs (i.e., flat roofs) last, on average, 17 years. When these membranes are replaced, building owners could add a reasonable amount of insulation and substitute a white roof surface (i.e., a cool or reflective roof) for the traditional dark colored roof surface, a practice that would save $12.2 billion in energy costs in just the first ten years. The annual savings after ten years would be $2.4 billion. This activity would also avoid and offset 147 million tons of CO2 emissions, an amount that is equal to the annual emissions of 38 coal fired power plants.

NRCA Supports Commercial Roof Depreciation Legislation

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) strongly supports bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress on May 22 to reform the outdated depreciation schedule for commercial roofs. This legislation, which replaces the current 39-year depreciation schedule with a 20-year schedule, will remove an obstacle in the tax code that limits economic growth in the roofing industry, thus facilitating the creation of an estimated 40,000 new jobs among roofing contractors and manufacturers. It also will benefit millions of small businesses nationwide and advance energy efficiency within the commercial building sector.

NRCA wishes to commend Reps. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) for sponsoring the House bill (H.R. 4740) and Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) for authoring the companion legislation (S. 2388) in the Senate. NRCA looks forward to working with these and other lawmakers to enact this legislation as the congressional tax-writing committees consider possible changes in tax policy that will help grow the economy and create jobs.

There has been a need for depreciation reform since the depreciation schedule for nonresidential property was increased from 15 to 39 years between 1981 and 1993. The average life span of most commercial roofs is only 17 years, according to a study by Ducker Worldwide. This has caused building owners to delay the full replacement of older, failing roofs in favor of limited, piecemeal repairs. Moreover, building owners who install new roofs before the current 39-year schedule has elapsed are required to depreciate roofs at different schedules, causing paperwork burdens for businesses.

This legislation will rectify this problem by providing the 20-year depreciation schedule for commercial roof retrofits that meet a benchmark energy-efficiency standard. Depreciation reform for energy-efficient commercial roofs will provide significant energy, environmental and economic benefits by reducing energy costs for businesses of all types that install new roofs.

Depreciation reform for commercial roofs enjoys the support of numerous business, labor and energy efficiency groups, including the National Roofing Contractors Association; United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers; and the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association. For more information, please contact NRCA’s vice president of government relations Duane Musser, or manager of federal affairs Andrew Felz at (202) 546-7584.

Kid Rock and GAF Support American Investment at Next Week’s International Roofing Expo

GAF has announced that it will be holding an event with special guest Kid Rock at the International Roofing Expo (IRE) held in Las Vegas, Feb. 26-28. Guests are invited to have their photo taken with Kid Rock and receive an autographed photo at the event to be held across from the GAF’s IRE booth at 4:30 pm on Feb. 26.

In August 2013 at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, GAF donated a motorcycle built by Orange County Choppers to war veteran Robert Dickey on stage at the Kid Rock concert. The collaboration led to the realization that GAF and Kid Rock share a mutual focus on creating jobs in America along with supporting and giving back to the military. One of the charities that Kid Rock strongly supports is Operation Finally Home, which provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes to America’s Heroes and their widows. Through their partnership, GAF will give back to this foundation by including Kid Rock in its summer contractor promotion. For each entry, GAF will make a donation to Operation Finally Home.

“Our relationship with Kid Rock has been a great experience, as we share some of the same ideals and understand the importance of investing in America and supporting our troops. GAF has an unparalleled level of investment in new roofing plants, and we actively working to bring new jobs and service on line at our upcoming facility at Cedar City, Utah,” explains Paul Bromfield, senior vice president of marketing and corporate development at GAF.