The Curious Workforce Landscape
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported at the beginning of February that new employment numbers rose by 467,000 in January 2021, and that the U.S. unemployment rate remained steady at a fairly low 4%. According to the BLS, “Employment growth continued in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in retail trade, and in transportation and warehousing.” We’re at an odd time when millions of people have quit or retired from their jobs, and many with no intentions of applying for the millions of available positions out there.
In looking at APPA’s own Job Express job listing service, the number of ads placed in 2021 more than doubled those that were listed in 2020. The jobs listed were predominantly in the planning/design/construction and project management realms, indicating that many of our educational institutions are starting or resuming significant numbers of construction and renovation projects. We’ve also seen an increase in job listings for skilled trades positions (such as plumber or locksmith) that previously had rarely been posted beyond a campus’ local or regional area. It’s becoming harder to find the skilled workforce needed to maintain the basic functions of the college, university, or school.
In addition, we have observed an increase in the number of senior facilities officers (SFOs) within the ranks of long-time APPA members who have left their institutions for different reasons: 1) they’ve been lured to work for business partner firms who work with educational facilities; 2) they’re making a go at private consulting in the same field; or 3) they’re outright retiring, many of whom had delayed doing so during or following the 2008-09 Great Recession.
This issue of Facilities Manager focuses on some of the issues and concerns affecting the facilities workplace today. Lander Medlin’s feature, “Skills and the Future of Work,” looks at the needs of our facilities teams and a glimpse as to what we need to do for the future; Andy Krouse and Bonnie Davis’ feature, “Leading Our Team: The Impact of Work Alienation,” focuses on the health and welfare of the staff we have right now; and Bob Beckstrom’s feature, “Succession Planning,” provides guidance to preparing for the inevitable departure of your seasoned and qualified staff members.
Several of the columns in this issue also discuss aspects of the workforce dilemmas in which many organizations are finding themselves. What’s happening at your institution and within your facilities department? We want to hear from you. Send your comments and stories to Steve Glazner.
Coming in March/April 2022
- Construction and Renovation Projects
- Real and Metaphorical Silos
Steve Glazner is APPA’s director of knowledge management and editor of Facilities Manager. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.