Staffing disconnects

A recent research study shows there is a disconnect between what junior staff need and what they’re getting at their firm.

By Amara Rozgus, Consulting-Specifying Engineer October 31, 2017

The initial results from the Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2017 Salary Survey are in, and while the data have not yet been fully analyzed by our research director, some of the responses really jumped out at me.

Two interesting themes rose to the top:

  • Younger staff members do not have the knowledge and abilities they need to do their job well, nor are they getting it on the job.
  • Education is severely lacking, both in the technical and business aspects.

Let me elaborate. By using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ format to break down the age of workers, anyone 40 or older is considered “old.” Approximately 76% of survey participants are 40 or older. That leaves a mere 23% younger than 40 and about 1% who prefer not to reveal their age. If you assume those 65 or older (about 21% of respondents) could retire at any time, that’s a huge loss of knowledge.

To compound it more, 58% of respondents do not have a mentoring program at their firm. And about 67% of respondents do not feel that college graduates know the correct technical and practical skills as they enter the workforce. To pile onto the problem, only 34% of survey respondents have indicated they have an official education or training program in place at their firm.

To me, that’s a bit of a disconnect—those who participated in the research study know that younger staff need help, yet their firms do not offer technical or business education.

How are junior staff members supposed to learn on the job? Fortunately, about 67% of respondents personally mentor junior staff members. Both formal and informal mentoring works—studies show that both are effective.

Once again, I challenge you to pick up the ball at your firm and run with it. Take a junior staff member under your wing and help them become the leader of tomorrow.