The Construction Field vs. Office Chasm Is Real and Getting Bigger

Construction leaders across North America voice strong disagreement on the state of the industry, according to new research. The 2019 People In Construction Report is available from FireStarter Speaking and Consulting, a Raleigh, NC based construction leadership consultancy.

Nearly five-hundred non-residential construction professionals responded between December 2018 and January 2019 to questions assessing the quality of leadership and culture in the construction industry. For a complete copy of the report contact [email protected]

"There are positive results in the report, but huge opportunities exist for the contractor truly willing to invest in people and culture," said Wally Adamchik, president of FireStarter. 

"The chasm between field and office staff is growing and this disconnect is bad for business," said Adamchik who speaks to major construction trade associations and at events like World of Concrete, World of Asphalt and CONEXPO.

"Too many firms pay lip-service to improving leadership. Overall, the quality of leadership in the construction industry is decidedly average and average does not attract or retain talent. The majority of contractors report labor shortages and schedule impacts due to lack of labor but continue to hope for better and throw money at people. That isn’t a sustainable solution," said Adamchik who consults to companies like COLAS North America, MYR Electric, Caterpillar, and Kinsley Construction.

  • The lack of alignment in safety from what respondents said was important and what they actually delivered is alarming.
  • Only two-thirds of field leaders said they consistently work safely despite ninety-three percent of them saying it was a top priority.
  • Work life balance is a joke for the field with only fifty percent of respondents saying they were able to maintain a reasonable work-life balance.

FireStarter asked 45 questions aimed at understanding the quality of leadership, the importance of values, and the impact of culture on retention. Many recent industry surveys confirm the lack of construction labor to do the work available but there is little information on what good culture looks like and how to get it. Insights from this report point firms in the right direction.

About FireStarter Speaking and Consulting
Wally Adamchik is the President of FireStarter Speaking and Consulting, a Raleigh, NC-based leadership consultancy with a focus on non-residential construction. Since 2003, Wally has written, spoken, consulted, and impacted the construction industry. He is the author of Construction Leadership from A to Z and a regular presenter at industry gatherings across North America. From family-held contractors to the top names in the ENR 400 and 600, the FireStarter team is a trusted partner in the quest to improve the quality of leadership.

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