Murphy Leads NAIOP Arizona Panel Discussion on Labor Shortage

A group of people posing for a picture in an office despite labor shortage.
Share the Post:

Willmeng’s James Murphy had the opportunity to serve as moderator on August 11 at NAIOP Arizona’s Market Leader Series education program. Murphy led the panel discussion on a vital topic for the construction industry, labor. 

Murphy was joined by panelists Danielle Feroleto, President of Small Giants; Mike Bontrager, VP and General Manager for Alston Construction and a member of the Steering Committee for Build Your Future Arizona; Kevin Major, Senior Director of Client Strategy Consulting at CBRE; and Brandon Milligan, COO at StrataTech Education Group, which offers training in high-demand careers such as HVAC, welding and electrical engineering technologies. 

Underlying Labor Shortage Issues

The panel examined some of the underlying issues that have created the current labor shortage. One challenge is the lingering negative perception of construction work, something that Build Your Future Arizona is making progress in changing. 

“It’s about time,” Murphy said about the improving perception of a career in the skilled trades. “In my career, pulling people into the industry, strategically, was a big void, no doubt.” 

Another issue the industry is facing is the lingering ripple effects of the pandemic. Entering the pandemic unemployment was a record lows and then quickly shot up to 17 percent. There was then a period of job growth and retraction that caused job seekers to tread very carefully before re-entering the market. Throughout that whole time, construction in the Valley didn’t pause but actually sped up its pace. 

“We all have a lot to be thankful for, the velocity of this market is literally unbelievable,” Murphy noted. “Velocity is outstanding and you look out beyond your shoes and velocity is still outstanding, but we’re starting to feel the pressure. Certainly, we need to talk solutions. This isn’t a new subject, but the pressures on the market are substantially higher and becoming more so.” 

Murphy guided the panel into discussing some solutions for both attracting and retaining talent in the industry. One of the key takeaways from that discussion was that bonuses and solid benefits packages are valuable tools that firms can use to lure and hold on to new employees. 

The panelists also all cited the importance of communication between management and staff as crucial in the process of retaining employees.  

“On the retention front, facilitating discussions and having the awareness that not everybody has the courage to come forward with what’s on their mind,” Murphy said. “Some do, and you appreciate that, and some don’t. If you’re not knocking, you’re going to watch them leave before you ever even knew what you were dealing with.” 

Related Posts

IndustrialIndustry Events

AZ Big Media People and Projects to Know

Willmeng is honored to have James Murphy as well as ...
Read More →
A sign for Kennedy Skate Park in Buckeye, Arizona. Parks and Recreation

Mastering Parks Projects: Willmeng’s Unparalleled Expertise

Having successfully completed over 40 large-scale park projects, including some ...
Read More →
A large white structure situated in the heart of an expansive grassy field, serving as a focal point for recreation development in urban parks. Parks and Recreation

Mastering Urban Parks and Recreation Development

In the realm of urban park development, a unique set ...
Read More →
An aerial view of Kennedy Skate Park in Arizona. Parks and Recreation

Versatile Parks: Serving Communities Day and Night

Willmeng‘s David Laughlin shed light on the versatility of parks ...
Read More →
The Base Phase 1 group standing in front of a bulldozer. EventsIndustrial

ViaWest Group Expands Industrial Presence in Glendale with The Base, Phase 1, Groundbreaking

ViaWest Group, a leading Phoenix-based developer, and Willmeng Construction, a ...
Read More →
A vibrant red and blue statue of love stands proudly in a park. Parks and Recreation

Transforming City Parks through Innovation and Leadership

In a recent interview, Willmeng Senior Project Manager, Kenny Shepherd, ...
Read More →
Scroll to Top