Are We Facing a Worker Shortage?

John G. Swanson
September 10, 2012

Builders seeing an uptick in demand are finding it hard to find workers, according to a recent CNBC report. With new home construction down for so long, many people have moved on to other industries. 

Of course, the window and door business has been down for some time, and I suspect many of us can name people who've moved onto other industries. So are we or will we see the same problem? Will dealers and manufacturers have a hard time finding workers?

That's our poll question of the week. And, of course, we'd like to hear from you too. Is your company in recovery mode already? What have you seen as you've looked for more workers? Are you able to bring people back? Are you finding people with necessary skills or do you have to do a lot of training. Post a comment and share your thoughts. 


Survey Results as 09/18/2012:


Are you seeing or expecting a worker shortage?

We don't expect to be hiring any time soon.




We expect to be hiring, but don't foresee problems finding people.




We've been hiring and workers are hard to find.




We've been hiring, but have not had any problems finding people.




We expect to be hiring and foresee some problems.





The good news in this week's results is that close to 30 percent of our respondents are with companies hiring already and close to a third expect to be hiring soon.  Among those companies, some are having or expecting problems finding workers, but it doesn't appear to be an overwhelming challenge.

Norm McKibbin of Aspen International Group, an executive recruiter involved in the window and door and building products industries contacted me after seeing this week's poll, noting that he has been closely watching LinkedIn Groups and seen "a dramatic increase in requests by companies and recruiters for talent at all levels" over the past six months. Noting that there about 50 such groups involved in building products, he reports that people are posting new openings daily and in large quantities for talent in management, sales, manufacturing, distribution, remodeling and new construction of all types for both the residential and commercial markets.

"My thinking is, if you have needs on your staff and/or at worker levels and can`t find the people, firms advertise and recruit to find the talent, or at least try to find out where the prior talent that they knew went to entice them to come back into the industry," McKibbon writes. "So to me, listings on LinkedIn and similar sites are the best barometers or pulses for hiring for the building product market and answer your question as to who, and if the industry has begun hiring again."

Pointing to the recovery, McKibbon says he is prepared with his database "to come 'back to the future' fully stocked with the knowledge of where the bodies lie and who is available."

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