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Q&A: Tim Welch on hiring insights for the U.S. construction market

Featured interview with VP of Neu Plumbing Inc. on February 19, 2019

We asked employers across different sectors to share their industry knowledge and hiring advice for our 2019 U.S. Salary Guide. Tim Welch, Vice President of Neu Plumbing, Inc. provides his insights for the construction market. Here’s the Q&A.

1. What is your company’s outlook for 2019? (e.g. new sectors/new locations, projects or plans etc.)
Neu Plumbing is focused primarily on the new ground-up construction in the K-12 market. The DFW area is in a major expansion phase and Neu Plumbing is in a position where it can be very selective in the work it bids while still bolstering its future pipeline of work.

2. How is your industry changing and how is that affecting the skills in demand?
As with many Industries, new construction plumbing is seeing technology make major changes in communication, building processes, and plumbing systems. Innovative technologies are reducing the required labor and skill level to complete a project. Gas and domestic water systems require less skill to install as mechanical joint (crimped) piping systems are becoming more standard in new construction. Expectations from all levels of the construction leadership are shortening schedules and pushing the tradesmen to be more efficient all these new technologies.

3. We hear from a lot of employers that attracting the best people is getting harder. How do you stand out to attract top talent?
We go out of our way to take care of all level of employees to build loyalty that never wavers in this competitive market. If any of our team members show interest in continuing their construction education, we are here to aid in that growth. We understand that there’s a need for construction personnel who can implement new technologies (Bluebeam, Plangrid, FileCloud systems) in their day to day tasks–and we ensure they are always prepared.

4. Many employers struggle to retain their teams. What have you found successful in improving retention at your organization or on your team?
We strive to instill our expectations and core values within our leadership team first. The idea is to have motivated leaders who can get our team excited and push for regular communication and increase the daily tempo. This mentality partnered with the availability of continuing education has been their recipe for success for the last six years. Building this type of corporate culture is key to employee retention and keeping our staff engaged.

5. What advice would you give a someone who is struggling to hire the right candidates?
Remember who it is that performs the work at the customer level on a daily basis. This is your interface with the customer. You need to ensure they are constantly projecting the same message as your company. Your employees not only represent your company but can also provide constructive criticism on a daily basis. Companies must strive to keep their employees engaged but not overworked.

6. What advice do you have for the next generation coming up the ranks?
Specifically, when speaking to the MEP market, the key is to deprogram the negative image of trade skills for the next generation. Young professionals can live a very rewarding life (without major debt from college) as a skilled tradesman but that needs to be projected to them correctly.

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