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Have you been listening?

Have you been listening?

The past few years have had a lot to teach us about winning the war for talent.

By Jeremy Clarke, Director of Executive Search and Recruiting, Zweig Group

Some remarkable shifts in recruiting and retention have transpired over the last year, all traceable to the acute rise in talent demand on the heels of a continued breakout economy. In unprecedented fashion, the AEC industry witnessed rapidly evolving job market conditions, industry trends, and technological advancements. These sharp shifts have brought about a sudden and significant talent shortage felt industry-wide, necessitating nimble responses from recruiting and HR leaders to attract and retain the talent their firms need to thrive. And there’s no immediate reprieve on the horizon. The fierce demand for talent continues to fuel augmented (sometimes inordinate) compensation expectations, multiple job offers from competitors, and retention tactics on an ever evolving scale.

As we examine these trends, we can’t help but ask some very provocative questions about what lies ahead for recruiting and retention: What is the technology that we need to own and master today to win the war for talent? How does our selection process need to evolve to be more efficient, faster, and opportunistic? What key indicators should we be measuring and why? Do the recruiting and retention leaders in our firms have a seat at the strategic planning table? What do we need to do proactively to cultivate diversity at every level of the organization, and to ensure that we are viewed as an employer of choice?

What is our position on remote hiring and onboarding, and does it need to evolve? What are we doing right now to benchmark our compensation practices against quickly evolving industry standards? Do we have structured career-pathing in place, and are we openly sharing it and mentoring our people accordingly?

It all seems a bit overwhelming. That said, no matter what circumstances we face here are five foundational areas your firm can camp on every day to help recruit and retain your best people:

  1.  Educate. Inform your people about the incredible opportunities at your firm and in this industry and show them the way! Our future – and certainly our infrastructure – depends on engaging the next generation now for long-term investment in the AEC profession.
  2.  Diversify. Cultivate DEI in this highly DEI-centric labor force. Taking a look at your firm’s DEI progress is just the right thing to do; and it’s almost universally accepted that a culturally diverse team fuels innovation, fosters creativity, and bolsters the profitability of a business.
  3.  Celebrate. Have fun with your people and celebrate your accomplishments! To raise awareness of our industry, let’s celebrate the achievements of the individuals at your firm and in your community who dedicate their lives to the design and construction of the world around us.
  4.  Change. It’s time for us to move the conversation and embrace the cresting wave of change. We must recognize the shifting tides when it comes to policies such as flex-time, remote working policies, better maternity/paternity offerings, access to education and training, and unique office environments. This means engaging in new ideas taken from employees, competitors, and other thriving industries.
  5.  Promote. The past few years have had a lot to teach us, but the years ahead are a blank canvas. To elevate, firms must bind together and continue promoting the tremendous impact our industry has on the world.

Consider what your firm is doing when it comes to each of these areas and how you can constantly be improving in all of them. The impact will be felt well beyond what you could have ever imagined and for generations to come. 

Jeremy Clarke is the director of executive search and recruiting at Zweig Group and the CEO of Emissary Recruiting Solutions. Contact him at jclarke@zweiggroup.com.