One of the biggest challenges we hear integrators talk about is the struggle to find talent. Job boards across the nation and in Canada are overwhelmed by job openings—but why is that?
The simple truth is this: There’s a shortage of people to fill STEM positions. This has become more evident as we see a giant gap from classroom to industry: Students aren’t going to school for degrees geared toward integration. And NSCA believes this issue will only worsen as jobholders get older.
So how do we close this gap? We asked alliantgroup CEO, Dhaval Jadav, just that: “NSCA CEO Chuck Wilson, who is also on our Strategic Advisory Board, just sat on a panel for our first-ever STEM Summit, and he talked about this very question. The fact is, there are more STEM job openings available than there are STEM graduates to fill those jobs. That is simply not sustainable for our industry or economy. Finding ways to get those jobs filled is the key, and that’s what ‘closing the gap’ means.”
Tom LeBlanc, NSCA’s executive director, says, “Not enough young, enthusiastic professionals know about the rewarding career opportunities in the integration industry. It’s important for the NSCA community to break that trend.”
That’s the focus of the Pivot to Profit 2021 charity event on Sept. 20: Closing the Gap from Classroom to Industry. This year, we’re asking attendees to join us—along with students from Atlanta’s YMCA—to provide a better understanding of our industry to the next generation. Along with alliantgroup, our team-building event sponsor, we’re hoping to get kids excited about the world of technology.
If integrators get involved in events like these to support STEM programs, then we can help build industry interest within the next generation. STEM-related events, such as this charity event, may be a small step toward fixing the solution, but it’s definitely a step worth taking. By planning the industry’s tomorrow, doors will begin to open—and jobs will start to fill.
So why are we so invested in crafting a way to fix this issue?
It’s simple: We want to help our member companies stay relevant and ahead of the curve. Jadav says alliantgroup considers the STEM initiative so important because “America has become a nation of middlemen. Sure, we need lawyers and bankers and the like, but they’re not what made America great. The innovators, scientists, and creators are the ones who have transformed this country into what it is. If we want the next Apple or Google to come from America, then we have to make sure we’re producing not just more STEM talent, but also the best STEM talent.”
That’s exactly why NSCA puts forth so much effort in creating successful Pivot to Profit events every year. We bring in presenters chosen by a committee of your peers who share their expert insight on how to help build integrators’ futures.
After the year we just had, it’s extremely important for integrators to pivot their way of thinking to help build company longevity. By figuring out ways to close this gap, we’re ensuring that the industry continues to thrive.
“This is absolutely vital,” says Jadav. “We’re giving ground to foreign competitors for every seat we can’t fill. It hurts businesses, it hurts industries, and it hurts the economy. But what we don’t always talk about is how it hurts families. These are good, high-paying jobs, and there are tons of people out there who are unemployed. There has to be a way to attract people and train them for these roles. It’s not only about [encouraging] kids to get STEM degrees.”
We currently exist in a bubble—which is why NSCA focuses on ways to get the integration industry in front of future generations. STEM-related events like the Pivot to Profit charity event may be a small step toward addressing this challenge, but it’s one worth taking.
NSCA and alliantgroup are confident that, by planning the industry’s tomorrow, doors will begin to open, and jobs will start to fill.
Emma Oldenburg is event and content manager at NSCA.