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Labor Shortage?

Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Posts: 3,038Member
There seems to be a constant lament about a supposed skilled labor shortage and calls for more trade schools and for the government to throw money at the "problem" yet there are absolutely no boilers not being installed due to this "shortage" and there are no deficit of "installers" willing to quote prices at even lower levels. I'm no economics major but basic supply/demand would indicate both rising wages and rising costs to the consumer in the face of a true labor shortage. In fact, at best both are stagnant. Thoughts?
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Comments

  • HatterasguyHatterasguy Posts: 6,058Member
    The operative word in the aforementioned analysis is "skilled".
  • Larry (from OSHA)Larry (from OSHA) Posts: 681Member
    Depends on where you are looking. In my travels to a variety of manufacturers, a very high percentage of business owners, plant managers and the like are having a difficult time finding good people to hire. They would like to find someone who will show up on time and every day, pass a drug test, be trainable, literate, and on and on. Much of manufacturing these days takes skilled labor. People in the building trades are saying the the challenges are the same, so I'll take their word on that. I've been to several places where the boss says he could and would hire more people today if he could get them. That would increase his capacity to produce products and fill more orders. I'm glad to hear that boilers are being installed and serviced, but it isn't like that everywhere. We have an apprentice program here at the Dept. of Labor and Industry that is doing its best to help.

    Larry
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 3,833Member
    Hat hit the nail on the head, skilled is the key point here. I work in drafting/design for an OEM manufacturer. We have difficulty finding skilled labor for the shop as well as in my department. The shop turnover rate is a bit on the high side as we hire people then realize they just can't cut it. We offer premium benefits so we won't put up with less than the best. I have seen experienced people not be able to cut it and never make it past the probation period. We are getting the work done, but it is definitely a struggle at times.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Posts: 3,038Member

    The operative word in the aforementioned analysis is "skilled".

    Define skilled. Most people are happy with "good enough" I've asked people who went with lower bids for after pics. Some were pretty bad but most were barely OK and that's all a lot of people want.
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  • HatterasguyHatterasguy Posts: 6,058Member
    If most people are satisfied with "good enough", then they obviously don't place any value in "skilled".

    However, we've seen more than our share of installations where "good enough" really is not good enough and the work has to be done again to hopefully meet "good enough".

    In the machining business, there is no such thing as "good enough". The component is rejected.

    I recently had a rejection because the part measured .0002" above the limit. This is on a 4" part with a .0005" tolerance. I certainly believed it was "good enough". They didn't.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    Hat...You should have cooled the part. I use to see it al the time.....Parts with ridiculous tolerances, that could easily have been called out as +- .oo5
  • GreenGeneGreenGene Posts: 290Member
    edited June 2016
    The entire thing is insane.

    Yes some of the hype is coming from the trade schools, billions are on the line, most are FOR PROFIT now, not for putting out quality students.

    The other fact is WE baby boomers are starting to retire, what "they" see (whoever the "they" are) is comparing current labor numbers of future retirees with the number of people coming into the trade "they" see a huge gap.

    I don't see it. I don't hear HVACR employers saying I can't find anyone.

    What they are saying is I can't find anyone that's employable or a keeper, we're seeing a huge turnover in people that cannot keep a job whether it's lack of attendance, constant texting, showing up, too many smoke breaks whatever.

    It's not a lack of bodies, it's a lack of employable people.

    And that is a result of NCLB, StudentsFirst, and CommonCore.
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Posts: 3,038Member

    My company is very small but my MO now is not so much to look for skilled people but rather people who are intelligent, have a good attitude, have energy, and are teachable. If they have those attributes, they'll become skilled in short order.

    Very good advice, Stephen. You can't teach the first three
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  • GordyGordy Posts: 8,525Member
    Define skilled.

    A skilled worker is someone who wants to do a better job each, and every time. Who fluently knows their craft, and yet is willing to better themselves through progressive training.

    A skilled worker is someone who wants to excel, and advance to the next level. Who wants responsibility, and can handle it. Who wants to make the company money, and show them where they can save money.

    Showing up for work on time everyday, and drug free is a requirement for any job unless you work the hemp deli in Colorado.

  • Steve MinnichSteve Minnich Posts: 2,124Member
    I don't disagree with that Gordy but for the sake of this conversation, I'm referring to skilled as someone I can put on the job in the morning for a boiler replacement, get the customer heat by the end of the day, and meet my expectations. The last one is the key.
    Steve Minnich
  • hot rod_7hot rod_7 Posts: 9,044Member

    There seems to be a constant lament about a supposed skilled labor shortage and calls for more trade schools and for the government to throw money at the "problem" yet there are absolutely no boilers not being installed due to this "shortage" and there are no deficit of "installers" willing to quote prices at even lower levels. I'm no economics major but basic supply/demand would indicate both rising wages and rising costs to the consumer in the face of a true labor shortage. In fact, at best both are stagnant. Thoughts?


    Boiler installers is a fairly small niche, I expect. That same tradesperson would need to know plumbing and maybe HVAC skills in most area. perhaps in your area boiler installers is full time work?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • GordyGordy Posts: 8,525Member

    I don't disagree with that Gordy but for the sake of this conversation, I'm referring to skilled as someone I can put on the job in the morning for a boiler replacement, get the customer heat by the end of the day, and meet my expectations. The last one is the key.

    I think all trades are suffering Stephen. Maybe it's more geographical, and in more finite areas as Hot Rod pointed out.
  • HatterasguyHatterasguy Posts: 6,058Member
    Paul48 said:

    Hat...You should have cooled the part. I use to see it al the time.....Parts with ridiculous tolerances, that could easily have been called out as +- .oo5

    I can certainly cool it slightly and make the size. The problem is when the customer measures it on a coordinate measuring machine 700 miles away and claims.........NFG!!!!
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,862Member
    In the early days of nuclear power they hired farm hands and trained them to build and operate reactors; these people had a high school diploma if you were lucky. A good farm hand has good mechanical skills and can follow written instructions. They also are not afraid of work and not afraid to ask about what they don't know. The thing they had in spades is they wanted to learn and they wanted to work.

    One problem i see now is the young don't fix things, they just buy new when the old stops working. They also don't have shop in the schools so most kids are never exposed to the industrial arts. I can remember finding discards and taking parts out of one to fix the other. We didn't have money but we had curiosity and we knew nobody was going to give us something for nothing.

    The drug problem is a tough nut to crack, if we don't solve it our society will just stop functioning. the war on drugs just didn't work, the key is to educate the grade school kids on what drugs do and keep it up all through school. The politicians know education works but they don't want to pay for it so we pay for prisons instead. The graduates from the prison system are dehumanized and all to often unemployable once they get out.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    @Hatterasguy

    I missed that it was for a customer. They pay the price for 4 or 5 decimal points, they get it.
  • HatterasguyHatterasguy Posts: 6,058Member
    Paul48 said:

    @Hatterasguy

    I missed that it was for a customer. They pay the price for 4 or 5 decimal points, they get it.

    We truly strive to hit it. It's all properly ground.

    It becomes a battle of coordinate measuring machines and temperature when you get down to .0001 or .0002.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    Just holding it in your hand, can put it out of tolerance.
  • HatterasguyHatterasguy Posts: 6,058Member
    Paul48 said:

    Just holding it in your hand, can put it out of tolerance.

    Yep............this was a 4.5" diameter with a relatively thin wall (.18)
  • njtommynjtommy Posts: 1,099Member
    Can you really blame people? Honestly this trade is very challenging not only mentally, but physically. Top that with long days in the heat or cold it makes things worse.
  • Steve MinnichSteve Minnich Posts: 2,124Member
    Best career there is in my opinion.
    Steve Minnich
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,208Member

    Best career there is in my opinion.

    I don't know.
    Ron Jeremy did pretty good.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,208Member
    As a special ed teacher of course.

    Bunch of pervs...................
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • njtommynjtommy Posts: 1,099Member
    @Stephen Minnich I totally agree with you. I love what I do.

    I get a new apprentices every year to start breaking them in. Some don't last more then a few months others just want to do 40hrs and go home, and then ever so often you get one that is just as crazy as the rest of us who are willing to work all day into all night to get the job or calls done.
  • CanuckerCanucker Posts: 479Member

    My company is very small but my MO now is not so much to look for skilled people but rather people who are intelligent, have a good attitude, have energy, and are teachable. If they have those attributes, they'll become skilled in short order.

    I can't like or agree with this comment enough.
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • Robert O'Connor_12Robert O'Connor_12 Posts: 724Member
    My local newspaper, (The Star ledger) has a pull out section every Sunday stating the same thing. In this pull out are the ads for particular trade schools in the area. In the back is the classified section showing job opportunities.
    I've been watching this for several years now & never EVER have I seen an ad looking for either a Plumber or HVACR mechanic.

    Robert O'Connor/NJ
  • hot rod_7hot rod_7 Posts: 9,044Member
    I travel the US and Canada doing training. Many times the training is at the wholesalers location. I'd guess 90% or more have a bulletin board covered with help wanted sheets.

    Maybe some are shopping for upgrades, or trying to pirate from competitors, but there are plenty of help wanted adds posted. The wholesalers themselves are always complaining about lack of help, same with some rep firms I know.

    in California the shortage of all trades has a 6 month or more waiting period to get a new home built in some areas.

    A lot of the Caterpillar locations I drive by have big help wanted banners flying.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • Rich_49Rich_49 Posts: 2,514Member
    I believe the problem being discussed that you reference has more to do with whom will maintain , repair or service what we have now , THE INFRASTRUCTURE of this country . Another point is that it needs to be recognized that everyone needs not attend a college or university . I have seen dozens of trade schools and vocational programs discontinued only to be replaced by culinary programs and the like . A good honest living at a decent wage is being lost and whether you and others see it or not the folks that most believe are entirely capable of doing this " mindless " work are sorely lacking . The average age of the skilled tradesman is roughly 52 , of those as we discuss here only about 10% or less are skilled as in competent . The time to prepare is now for when the shortage is visible enough for all to see . There is nothing wrong with being proactive as opposed to reactive . It's usually too late when you are reacting .


    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC 732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey , Eastern Pa .
    Consultation , Design & Installation
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • Rich_49Rich_49 Posts: 2,514Member
    These are a bit shorter but very powerful .



    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC 732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey , Eastern Pa .
    Consultation , Design & Installation
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • GordyGordy Posts: 8,525Member
    Rich Nailed it!
  • Steve MinnichSteve Minnich Posts: 2,124Member
    Take people from other industries like I try to do. I took Tim from the corporate world and my next hire could be a chef. 21 year old kid who lives next to me and all he does in his spare time is work on his motorcycle and car. I've been thinking about that move for 4 years.
    Steve Minnich
  • GordyGordy Posts: 8,525Member

    Take people from other industries like I try to do. I took Tim from the corporate world and my next hire could be a chef. 21 year old kid who lives next to me and all he does in his spare time is work on his motorcycle and car. I've been thinking about that move for 4 years.

    You should quit thinking about it if you need the help Stephen.

    A guy like that who has a profession may be just the ticket. Not scared to try something new when he has an ace in the hole to fall back on.

  • Steve MinnichSteve Minnich Posts: 2,124Member
    edited June 2016
    I actually just talked to him and we're close to having him work part time while keeping his other job. This gives both of us time to see if its a good fit.
    Steve Minnich
  • GordyGordy Posts: 8,525Member
    edited June 2016
    I see attention to detail with this person.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    See what kinda head he's got on his shoulders.........Ask him to find out as much as he can about Primary/ Secondary piping, on the internet. There's enough information available, that he should be able to grasp the concept.
  • Steve MinnichSteve Minnich Posts: 2,124Member
    I challenge guys from the get-go and never stop.
    Steve Minnich
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,973Member
    It's not just plumbing and steam and HVAC. Try to find a really good mechanic who will actually fix your car! The problem is, perhaps, more visible in our area, as it is really really hard to design our stuff to be fully computer controlled, unlike that car I mentioned (something goes wrong with that, replace the computer and off you go). I agree, though, that the most critical part of the puzzle is the attitude of the potential hires. Finding people who actually care about what they are doing, want to do it better every day, and are reliable and hard working. You can teach someone like that the trade. You can't teach a bad attitude.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    I bet, at 21, he's already tired of working every holiday.
  • GordyGordy Posts: 8,525Member
    Thank god my son-in-law is not. Sells RV's family business he will be 3rd generation. Sells the shist out of them.
  • Steve MinnichSteve Minnich Posts: 2,124Member
    edited June 2016
    I don't know this kid real well but I can say with certainty that he's not afraid to get his hands dirty and he's no slacker.
    Steve Minnich
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