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What are you doing to attract younger employees to your company, both for the office and for the field?

Editor’s Note: Most respondents said their company is doing nothing to attract younger employees because they are not looking to attract/hire any employees. Until the economy picks up and backlogs start filling in, not a lot of you are looking to hire.

Here at Marek, most of our candidates are referred by employee friends and family. But when we must recruit, we have a great advantage over our competitors and other industries. We provide health insurance, vacations, holiday pay, accredited craft training programs and a 401(k) retirement plan for all of our employees. We build careers as well as landmarks.

—John Hinson,
Marek Brothers Systems, Texas

Diligence is the main issues these days. Good enough pay to get them and if they show diligence, they have to be commended verbally and whatever else, including no delay in rewarding them with pay raises, pay for effort and increased ability.
KL Drywall LLC,
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Good question. We have the good fortune of having been in business for most of 40 years and therefore have field employees who have brought their sons in. That’s the best reference.

Also, since we have a stable workforce—year to year—we have gained the recognition and confidence of potential employees seeking employment. So as soon as we put out the word that we’re looking, we typically get responses.

Finding the right people with the right skills and experience and attitude make the search somewhat difficult.

As for finding office employees, sometimes it’s trial and error. We recently employed a search agency and found a real keeper. This was our first experience hiring through an agency but probably not our last.

—Rob Aird,
Robert A. Aird, Inc.,
Frederick, Maryland

Nothing. In the field we are trying to keep the older, much more experienced field employees. We have been busy but even that’s hard with the current economy. As far as the office is concerned, we can’t afford to hire any new people.


Nothing. Wages in the plaster industry have remained unchanged for 30 years, at least in Texas. We were the first shop in Texas to offer $21 per hour to gain interest. That was 15 years ago. We had to cut that by 15 percent three years ago to stay competitive. What was once a good living can no longer support a family of four. Wages for plumbers, electricians and elevator mechanics have almost doubled in the same period. Money talks. They get the new recruits.
—Tim Rogan, Vice President, Houston Lath and Plaster, Seabrook, Texas

We are using referrals from employees as our main recruitment method. We reward the employee who referred a new employee who will in turn stick it out at least six months a bonus. We have been doing this for over 20 years and are very pleased with the results. We also stay in contact and work with the local vocational schools. We have members of the management team serve on advisory boards and donate material and labor for several projects each year.

We have contracted with a third party to provide energy drinks and to ensure that our gaming systems are up-to-date with the latest and greatest violent games. Additionally, we have forgone any monitoring of time spent on social networks to assure that our up-and-comers are not out of their comfort zone. We make sure not to raise our voices or ask our younger employees to do anything outside of their job description.

Our proactive approach to recruiting younger people has yielded many individuals who have expressed great interest in applying with our firm, once they get around to it ….

—Howard Bernstein,
Penn Installations, Inc.,
Summerhill, Pennsylvania

We have such a serious problem with skilled and non-skilled labor in this country. We have tried many ways to try to attract the youth of today. We have offered slightly higher pay than we normally would have, would spend many, many hours with additional training, and put them with the most skillful employees we have. With all that and more, it still is not working.

The young employees want the big bucks right out of the gate. They are lazy, out of shape and have attitudes we would never have thought of having coming up in the trades. Years ago if we did not work, we did not eat. Now they expect to get paid for doing nothing. With the economy, not getting paid on time and the poor labor situation, we are very seriously thinking of closing the doors. I think the good days are behind us.

—Preston Suddueth, Vice President, Suddueth’s Pride, Inc.,
Raleigh, North Carolina

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