Kitchen & Bath Design News

FEB 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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AFTER A RECESSION whose effects were felt long after the market began to recover, and then several more years of painfully slow growth, the economy has taken off on an upward trajectory that has left both con- sumers and kitchen and bath pros feeling largely upbeat. The home remodeling industry, like many others, con- tinues to see solid growth, and while issues like housing affordability have presented some bumps in the road, the market for kitchen and bath remodeling remains strong (see related Barometers, Page 12). Not surprisingly, then, the job market has seen plenty of growth, with both salaries and the number of available positions on the rise. Indeed, employment levels are at record highs – and while that's great news if you're looking for a job, it can be challenging if you're looking to fill one. Ask kitchen and bath dealers and they'll tell you there's a personnel crisis out there – and there's no easy fix. KBDN did just that (see related story, Page 60), and the comments below reflect what dealers are saying about their struggles dealing with the labor shortage: • "We have a backlog of work but are lacking the skilled labor force to execute it." • "Our biggest challenge is finding good, skilled, quality employees. Part of the problem is [that fewer] young people are entering the trades, making the existing pool smaller. And, as the current pool increases in age and experience, more tradespeople are choosing to work for themselves, shrinking that pool even further." • "The labor shortage is the biggest issue in our area at present – and the associated cost increase for labor due to scarcity in our area." • "All of our seasoned pros and craftsmen are retiring and there aren't any coming up to take their places. We are finding the quality of contractors and remodel pros [isn't] what [it] used to be." • "Finding set crews and installation crews is nearly impossible." And it's not just about a shortage of bodies. For busy kitchen and bath firms looking to add employees, the challenge lies not just in finding the right people, but in making time to train them. Smaller kitchen and bath firms often require everyone to wear multiple hats, which means new employees not only need industry and prod- uct knowledge, they also need skills ranging from sales and design to customer service, CAD proficiency and social media expertise. Firms swamped with work often don't have the time and resources to train new employees who aren't already well versed in all the intricacies of the kitchen and bath field. But at the same time, finding experienced employees who can hit the ground running has never been more difficult. Subs are in high demand as well, causing job delays or even lost jobs. Many dealers worry that the industry is becoming depleted of talent as fewer people pursue careers in the trades. Indeed, of the 52.7% of firms polled that said they were looking to hire additional help, a whopping 85% found it "extremely" or "somewhat" difficult to find and hire someone with the skills they were looking for. Perhaps that's why more than 70% said they were increasing their efforts to retain existing employees by offering raises (35%), added bonuses (33%), added benefits (28%) and more training (24%) and promotion opportunities (12%). There's no doubt that good help is hard to find. Most of those polled agreed that industry referrals are the best way to start. Fortunately, this month's Kitchen & Bath Industry Show provides the perfect setting to start building or growing your network. Whether you're looking for new products, new connections, new skills, new employees or new job prospects, this year's show will provide a plethora of opportunities to see and be seen (see related KBIS coverage, Pages 85-96). And the Voices of the Industry program will offer a wealth of tips on everything from social media strategies (see related story, Page 64) to tips for improving your firm's efficiency – critical in these busy times. While everyone loves to be part of a growing indus- try, strong growth rarely comes without some growing pains. And while it may be tempting to put off efforts to hire and train new staff to avoid those pains, investing in the future is always a smart choice. ▪ " Ask kitchen and bath dealers and they'll tell you there's a personnel crisis out there – and there's no easy fix." No Easy Fix for Personnel Crisis February 2019 • KitchenBathDesign.com 9 EDITORIAL ® Like us: Facebook.com/ KitchenBathDesignNews Follow us on Twitter: @KBDN Join the discussion: LinkedIn.com/groups/7023676 Follow us on Instagram: @kbdn_sola PUBLISHER Paul DeGrandis PUBLISHER EMERITUS Eliot Sefrin EDITOR Janice Anne Costa MANAGING EDITOR Anita Shaw ASSOCIATE EDITOR Autumn McGarr GROUP EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Patrick O'Toole CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kim Berndtson Joe Dowd Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS Elizabeth Richards Denise Vermeulen COLUMNISTS Denise Grothouse Bruce Kelleran, CKD, CPA John Morgan Ken Peterson, CKD Leah Peterson Mary Jo Peterson, CMKBD, CAPS, CLIPP Sarah Reep, CMKBD, ASID, CMG, CAPS, IIDA Eric Schimelpfenig, AKBD CREATIVE & PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Tracy Hegg SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Erika Nygaard AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Mike Serino READER SERVICE MANAGER Jeff Heine DIGITAL PROGRAMS MANAGER Tim Steingraber PROJECTS MANAGER Heidi Riedl Copyright © 2019 by SOLA Group Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be produced in any form, including electronically, without written permission from the publisher of Kitchen & Bath Design News . JANICE COSTA EDITOR

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