There were 9.3 million job openings in the U.S. at the end of April, a record high. And if finding workers wasn’t painful enough, retaining them was even harder. More Americans quit their jobs in April than in any month on record (2.7%). Workers are demanding flexible work schedules and higher pay — and they refuse to tolerate stressful environments like restaurants and retail. In all, 41% of workers globally are considering leaving their current employer this year, according to a survey from Microsoft. Wages are rising quickly, and companies are offering tremendous perks in their desperation to land employees.
With millions of positions unfilled, prospects can afford to be picky. This should be a rare opportunity for our industry to get an infusion of young, tech-savvy people. A recent survey of the elevator industry showed finding good workers to be a problem everywhere. With field techs making six figures a year, we should be able to attract people. But my son says the elevator industry is a “secret” industry — almost nobody knows about it unless they are born into it.
We need to get the word out. Maybe the industry associations could get together (a bridgebuilders meeting?) and find a way to market this industry to a potential workforce. Tell high schools, trade schools, industrial certification programs and junior colleges what a safe, professional, high-tech, financially secure industry we have.
Our focus this month is on the U.S. South. We all agree that things are good down here. If that were not the case, you would all be thinking about retiring to Vermont or Michigan (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). In The Sunny Side, Kaija Wilkinson talks with a number of contractors in the Southeast. Florida is the hot market, with residential leading the pack. Within the condo market, buyers want the latest in vertical transportation (VT). It’s a “keeping up with the Joneses” scenario from one tower to the next. The author also reports on fantastic activity in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, with education and industrial construction leading the way.
We have four other articles from our Focus on the South:
- Thinking “Outside the Box” by Wilkinson describes a challenging modernization on the Sea Dunes condominium building’s one elevator that gave the family business of the Cavinders an opportunity to shine.
- 50 Years Focused on Service by Lindsay Fletcher. PTL made a strategic move from New York to Georgia 30 years ago and was able to transfer 12 families with them. The company has since expanded and built an international market, as well.
- Rock Solid by Wilkinson. Alabama-based Bagby Elevator celebrated 100 years during the pandemic. Thanks to Birmingham’s industrial roots and their versatility, they were busier than ever.
- Full Steam Ahead by Wilkinson. A Schindler executive shares an in-depth look at the dynamic and growing region.
For all of you who wondered “What’s with that American Elevator Group?,” our Angie Baldwin has the scoop in Bridging the Gap. In an interview with CEO Mark Boelhouwer and Vice President of Marketing and Communications John Curzon, she finds that AEG now has 16 service companies in 21 states, and that they want to be a “force for good” in the industry.
Our historian Dr. Lee Gray writes this month about Elevator Entrapments in the U.S. 1880-1930. Being trapped in an elevator was fairly common in those days, but often, hoistways and cabs had an open design and passengers could contact others for assistance.
Our cover photo comes from a feature, A Piece of Moving Art by Jeff Lavoie. He relates that there were many challenges — including a snowstorm — to building a “floating elevator” for a New Hampshire home. I am so happy to feature a residential elevator on the cover. Other features this month are:
- New Horizons by Rafael Martinez Neira. ATRIO Torre Norte in Bogotá, Colombia, has a complex VT system. Building Information Modeling (BIM) 3D modeling software helped an Otis team integrate the system.
- Innovation for an Icon by Jay Maloney and Carey Oakes. The U.K.’s Knowsley Lift Services modernizes the Royal Liver Building freight elevator for greater efficiency.
This issue has so much more — including a Continuing Education piece by David Herres on Printed Circuits and their uses in the industry.
Enjoy this issue and read on.