Commercial Integrator March 2022 - 30

WORKFORCE Attracting Talent
Volkman hopes students will be inspired
to pursue a career in AV/IT upon completion
of the course. " We want them to know
that they have a place, " he stresses. " And,
when they're ready, they can jump in and
find a position that's suitable for them at
the time and grow in that field. "
John Laughlin, CEO of CTI, speaks with students at Webster University's Intro to AV/IT
course via Zoom.
area, its warehouse and shipping area, and
its live-events department. " We're going
to give them a full-gamut walkthrough of
what it really looks like at the office, " he
explains. That includes the systems coming
in, what the CTI team is designing and
what the integrator is shipping out.
" In any industry, if you don't know
someone on the inside - or if you don't
know the ins and outs, or where to begin
- it is kind of like a dome..., " Volkman
acknowledges. " And, so, what we're trying
to do is to kind of stick our hand outside
the bubble and pull them inside. " It's vitally
important work.
Webster University originally approached
CTI about teaching a course after it handled
several installations across the campus. The
company hopes to launch an internship
program with the university, as well.
Q&A With AVIXA on Talent
Recruitment/Retention, DEI Issues
CI: What is causing the AV talent shortage? Is it a matter of
people not knowing about commercial AV as a career track?
Peter Hansen, Economist, AVIXA, weighs in:
We are indeed seeing an increase in AV labor market tightness,
with hiring companies feeling the pinch particularly acutely at
the start of 2022. This pinch is driven by the wider economy,
rather than pro AV. The recovery from the pandemic recession
has been historically strong, and the economy overall began to
enter a labor market crunch in late summer 2021. For a while,
pro AV wasn't too affected; payrolls were still sufficiently unrecovered
that slack remained in our industry. But, with such a
favorable overall market for workers, it was only a matter of time
before the overall economic hiring boom hoovered up any spare
AV talent. Now, our industry is facing the same hiring challenge
as the rest of the economy.
Although the hiring problems are generated by economic
pressures outside of AV, our industry has many ways to respond.
First, companies need to accept the hard reality that it's
30
Commercial Integrator MARCH 2022
Improving How the
Industry Recruits Talent
A lack of qualified talent is certainly
plaguing our industry, but, so, too, is a
lack of diversity. " The way we communicate
career opportunities, or where
we communicate those opportunities,
seems to lead to a lack of diversity in
those who are recruited into this industry, "
LeBlanc laments.
" We need to be a diverse, welcoming,
inclusive industry - [one] where everyone
feels a sense of belonging, " LeBlanc
continues. Thus, integration companies
need to think more about diversity, equity
and inclusion (DEI) as a core part of their
company culture. " There's no question
that embracing the importance of diversity,
equity and inclusion has a vital importance
for any company, " LeBlanc adds.
From a recruiting standpoint, hiring
managers need to look at the processes they
a workers' market right now. This is painful when so many AV
companies are still struggling with the pandemic's impact, but,
especially for workers on the lower end of the pay spectrum,
the market is driving bigger raises than it has in years. For many
positions, companies are going to have to bite the bullet and
pay more.
The Transformed Labor Market
Pre-pandemic, our research showed that AV companies had responded
to tight labor-market conditions by lowering standards;
hiring eager, but under-skilled, workers; and training them up.
That's still viable, but the transformed labor market adds difficulty.
Pre-pandemic, despite overall labor-market tightness, there
wasn't a significant scramble for low-wage workers. Now, there
is. That makes it more expensive to hire a young, low-skilled
worker and transform them into an AV tech.
Wage gains haven't been as strong in the upper middle of
the distribution, though. So, the " train-them-up " strategy might
work best for already-established AV professionals. For example,
your best way to hire a senior engineer might be to hire a
senior technician and utilize training to add their missing skills.
commercialintegrator.com
COURTESY TONY VOLKMAN.
http://www.commercialintegrator.com

Commercial Integrator March 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator March 2022

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Commercial Integrator March 2022 - 1
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