MASON CITY, Iowa – “We struggle a lot finding qualified people,” says Vice President of Operations for Henkel Construction, Kent Brcka.
He has been with his company for close to two decades. He has definitely seen the highs and lows of the trade. The good news is, the business is booming again after the economic downturn, but with an increase in business comes the need for more workers.
“We are busy right now. In fact we have several new projects starting, so we certainly are on the hunt for new, qualified employees,” says Brcka.
In Iowa, construction employment is up four percent, while Minnesota is seeing an eight percent increase. That’s since last June. The workforce though, is getting older. According to the occupational health and safety administration, the average construction worker is now over 40 years old.
“It seems to be getting more and more of a problem. Our workforce is aging, and we find that it’s getting harder to get young people into our industry,” says Brcka.
One of his workers started when he was young, and he still enjoys what he does every day.
“I love seeing a project from beginning to end. I love the diversity in the construction industry, and I love being outside especially, on days like today,” says Project Supervisor, Tim Bray.
He says, the times and attitudes of the younger workforce may have changed.
“It seems like younger guys have less interest in doing manual labor. They would rather sit behind a computer screen, to be quite honest,” says Bray.
Others may think their skills aren’t quite up to par, but these experts say, in this industry you learn by doing.
“We continue to try and attract new, young, people to our industry and provide training opportunities for them to help improve their skill levels as well,” says Brcka.
Bray says, at the end of the day, if you like the feeling of accomplishment, this trade might be for you.
“To have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, you see what you’ve done, see what you started, and where it’s ended up. To just take pride in being able to see something from beginning to end is pretty cool,” says Bray.
If you want to know if companies in your area are hiring, contact your local Iowa Workforce Development office.