Contractors must adjust sights to focus on students' interests

Since the voting took place in Florida, contractors may want to demand a recount. But a survey taken at the University of Florida indicates that many contractors may be trying to attract students to work for them by using the wrong enticements. Results of the poll show that students are less interested in a fabulous starting salary and a fancy job title than they are in working for a company that

Since the voting took place in Florida, contractors may want to demand a recount. But a survey taken at the University of Florida indicates that many contractors may be trying to attract students to work for them by using the wrong enticements.

Results of the poll show that students are less interested in a fabulous starting salary and a fancy job title than they are in working for a company that is held in high professional esteem in the construction industry. Students also want to work someplace that will offer them training, professional development and upward mobility.

The survey results may come as a revelation to contractors who hand out signing bonuses, company vehicles and other perks in the hopes that they will attract intelligent, well-educated recruits. These contractors may want to readjust their sights to emphasize aspects of their companies that students and other potential workers really care about.

Make no mistake about it, though. A competitive salary-and-benefits package is important because mechanical contractors must vie for workers with companies in other industries that students may find more appealing or know more about.

Contractors must realize, however, that students and other workers are interested in more than just their paycheck. They have to give employees other reasons to come to work every day, or these people will continue to find jobs someplace else.

Although TDIndustries claims not to be a role model for other contractors, the Dallas-based mechanical sets a good example nevertheless. Ceo Jack Lowe Jr. tells Contractor that the secret of attracting and keeping good people is to "be a great place to work. No gimmicks but give people respect, opportunity, training and divvy up the profits fairly."

Lest anyone think otherwise, TDIndustries demands results and accountability from its employees. If nothing else, TDIndustries proves that a mechanical contractor can create a desirable work environment while at the same time doing a great job of serving its customers.

In fact, several of the qualities that students in Florida find most appealing in a construction company are not much different than what many customers look for in a contractor. Superior employees and customers both look for a company that maintains a good reputation in the industry, stable management, a commitment to professionalism and strong finances.

Along with training and advancement opportunities, these are the attributes that contractors should be touting to attract students and other employees.

Bob Miodonski is the Editorial Director for CONTRACTOR magazine. He can be reached at 847/390-2123 or by e-mail at [email protected] or by mail at 1350 E. Touhy Ave., Des Plaines, IL 60018.