CHICAGO - In January, 2018, the Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) commissioned an independent research firm to conduct a multi-phase study to quantify the scope and severity of the lack of installation professionals on the flooring industry's sustainability and growth. A Chicago-based research firm, The Blackstone Group Inc., was contracted to conduct the research, whose quantitative components focused on businesses that purchased workers' services by engaging floor covering installers as direct employees and/or subcontractors in 2017. A total of 334 executives, representing floor covering contractors, retailers, workrooms, and installation businesses across 45 of the 50 states, participated.
Part 3 of this 5 Part Series describes motivations and hurdles when considering flooring installation as a career path. The quantitative research's findings regarding floor covering installation as a career included these highlights:
• A key consideration motivating the executives who would recommend a career in installation was its perceived financial advantages.
• The primary barrier to recommending installation as a career was the tough working conditions that installers experience.
• To boost the odds of finding the "right people" for installation work many of the executives who expected to hire installers in 2018 planned to rely on current employees' recommendations.
• Executives' main source for recruiting employees varied by region. Those in the south and west more often expected to depend on personal ties than did executives in the northeast and Midwest.
Executives observed that, as a specialty trade, floor covering installation is a good career choice for those that have particular combination of traits:
• Aptitude for and interest in manual work.
• Capacity and commitment to handle the rigors of the trade.
• Ambition to be an entrepreneur.
The FCLC research initiative had several overarching objectives:
• Estimate the size of the gaps between the supply of and the demand for floor covering installers, now and in five to 10 years.
• Quantify the financial impact of the installer shortage up the supply chain.
• Identify key drivers of the installer shortage as well as potential solutions.
The study's findings suggest not only that the labor shortage is real, but that its financial impacts up the flooring supply chain are significantly greater than previously understood.
Associations included in the FCLC coalition and others donated the funds needed to accomplish the 2018 research. Ongoing industry fundraising will be coordinated to generate the funding needed for the initiative's future work.
Part 4 of this series will focus on the assessment of perceptions of installation labor shortages. Presentations detailing the FCLC research findings will take place on January 24, 2019 at The International Surface Event (TISE) in Las Vegas and on February 28 at Domotex USA in Atlanta.
The FCLC was established in 2015 as a coalition of flooring industry trade associations committed to identifying issues and developing solutions to the industry's most pressing challenges. Currently, twelve flooring associations support the FCLC: American Floorcovering Alliance, Inc. (AFA), International Certified Flooring Installers Associations Inc. (CFI), Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association (FCICA), Multilayer Flooring Association (MFA), Natural Stone Institute (NSI), North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD), North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA), National Institute of Certified Floorcoverings Inspectors (NICFI), National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI), World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). For more information, visit www.fclcouncil.org.