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The State of the BAS Job Market – Part 2 (The Talent Pool, i.e., the supply side)

Red Alert – we are short 18,000 (55%) “boots on the ground” Control Professionals (data for this chart is at the end of this post.)


skipSkip Freeman,
 Senior Technical Recruiter,
BASI Solutions, Inc.
Skip.Freeman@BASIsolutions.com


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Red Alert – we are short 18,000 (55%) “boots on the ground” Control Professionals (data for this chart is at the end of this post.)

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As a Mechanical Engineer, I’ve been involved with utilities in industrial facilities and central plants in commercial buildings since 1986: 17-years of actual “hands-on” in facilities, and the last 18 as a recruiter. Since technology is a passion of mine, I moved my recruiting focus to building automation systems in 2018.

As with any business (whether it’s as a mechanical contractor, systems integrator, OEM controls manufacturer, or a recruiter), the question one must ask is, “What’s the actual state of demand vs. supply?”

My focus has been “boots on the ground.” The best sensors, actuators, microprocessors, software, et al. can be created, but without the professionals in the field doing the design work for proposals, terminating control panels, downloading software, doing point-to-point check outs, and providing follow-on troubleshooting and service, none of it matters.

 

 

Therefore, who are these professionals? How many are there? Can we get in touch with them? Are there enough?

Because of Covid, none of us knew the direction the market was going to take. Now that we are rebounding, and rebounding with vigor, I would like to report the results of my 3-year study with the hope that it is beneficial to you, the reader.

And we all must know where we stand as an industry.

That’s the purpose of this 3-part series, “The State of the BAS Job Market.”

       April 2021 – Part 1: The Demand Side, i.e., The Jobs

       May 2021 – Part 2: The Supply Side, i.e., The Talent Pool

       June 2021 – Part 3: How can YOU successfully hire when there aren’t enough good people to go around?

How do we identify Building Automation Jobs and Talent?

Last month, in Part 1, we went into detail on how we have identified BAS jobs and discerned that the data is accurate.

Let’s have a quick review because most of the elements of that process are also key to fleshing out the talent pool. And as a quick side note, being an engineer, I’m “anal.” As an analytical, I want to get it right. (And if we have missed anything in this assessment, we are open to correction. Input will be greatly appreciated.)

Just like Building Automation systems gather volumes of data but seldom analyze it, the same is true with the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.)

However, EMSI (EconomicModeling.com) licenses then relicenses access to the BLS data providing you and me the opportunity to access it, analyze it, and discern actionable insights from it. Therefore, we purchased an EMSI license.

But one of the hurdles we had to overcome was figuring out how to separate building automation controls jobs and professionals from the macro group of “control professionals” (which includes industrial/process automation professionals.)

After going through their training program, and with the help of our EMSI Account Manager, we determined that 94% of all BAS jobs and BAS control professionals can be found in one of the following 5 BLS industry classifications:

       Computer Software

       Construction

       Industrial Automation (Quite a few BAS professionals on places like LinkedIn identify with this industry classification since it’s “as close” as any of the other classifications to building automation.)

       Information Technology

        Mechanical or Industrial Engineering (This is where HVAC is listed, but a lot of building automation professionals do not realize that.)


Quick Update on April’s Part 1: The Demand Side, i.e., The Jobs


Based on the latest EMSI information, there was a 27.2% increase in unique BAS Control Professional jobs posted from the end of February to the end of March.

Discussed in detail last month but important to know, EMSI removes identical jobs posted on the various job boards in their count. For example, if a firm has a Building Automation Control Technician job posted on indeed.com and the same job is also posted on their website and on LinkedIn, it will not get counted three times. Only once. (This will not hold true, however, if the city is changed or the title is changed from Building Automation Control Technician on one posting to Building Automation Specialist on another. But, after studying hundreds of job postings from many companies over the last three years, that is not commonly done.)

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Part 2: The Supply Side, i.e., The Talent Pool

In addition to the current BAS job market rebounding, we have the following from the AIA:

“In a press release dated March 24, 2021, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced that the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) posted a score of 53.3 in February 2021. Anything above 50 indicates increased billings. This was the first time the ABI posted a positive score since February 2020. Additionally, the new project inquiries score was 61.2 for February 2021, reaching a 22-month high.”

And with the push toward “green,” the demand for BAS Control Talent is just going to accelerate.

What has been our protocol for determining how many BAS Control Professionals are in the workforce?

After studying hundreds of resumes and job postings, and with help from EMSI’s technical support staff, it has been determined that 90%+ of our “boots on the ground” BAS professionals can be found using 15 job titles within the 5 industry groups previously mentioned.

Through the EMSI interface, the BLS database estimates that the range of BAS Controls professionals in the workforce is 12,454 to 14,504 (depending on whether we include or exclude “software” as a skill.) Hence, we will use the average of 13,479.

A tool we have used for 3-years (and it just keeps getting better) is Hiretual. It is an AI powered search engine that pulls together data from across 45+ platforms on the web looking for people. (A sampling of the 45+ platforms include LinkedIn, indeed.com, Google, Bing, ZoomInfo, YouTube, Twitter, Monster, CareerBuilder, and the list grows monthly.)

We took copies of BAS field personnel job descriptions and uploaded them into Hiretual. Hiretual took the information, processed it, and then by looking for resumes, profiles, Facebook pages, biographies, presentations, white papers, et al., it estimated that there are 15,091 BAS Control Professionals in the workforce.

Bottom line: Between the BLS and Hiretual, it is estimated that there are 13,500 to 15,000 “boots on the ground” control professionals in the workforce.

With two sources providing similar results, confidence in the data is developed.

A copy of the full Hiretual report is available. Just reach out to me at skip.freeman@BASIsolutions.com

Additional Insights regarding the Hiretual 15,091 field Control Professionals

       31.3% have 20+ years of industry experience

       51% have been with their current company 4+

       22.6% earn between $33.65 & $43.27/hour

       24.7% earn between $43.28 & $52.88/hour

Who are they and can we reach them?

In the movie Creed, as Rocky Balboa coaches Adonis, the son of Apollo Creed, he reminds him constantly, “One step, one punch, one round at a time!”

And that is what we have been doing for 3-years. We have been identifying “boots on the ground” control talent in just that manner. Looking at LinkedIn profiles, indeed.com resumes, Facebook groups, checking out people who are listed on mechanical contractor & systems integrator websites and finding people “one step, one punch, one round at a time.”

As of April 27, 2021, we have identified 12,696 Control Professionals.

We have their name, the company they work for, and in over 80% of the cases either the person’s email address or phone number. These are people we have reviewed and know their profile is accurate. In other words, they aren’t a PLC Programmer or Process Automation Control Professional. Nor are they the Director of Marketing at XYZ OEM Manufacturing firm. These are professionals working at mechanical contractors, systems integrators, or with an OEM, but in a field capacity.

With the workforce estimates from the BLS and from Hiretual, we know we have identified approximately 85% of the “boots on the ground” control professionals.

Summary

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15,000 BAS Control Professionals currently in the workforce
+ a need for 18,000 more
= 33,000 total required

Next month - Part 3: How can YOU successfully hire when there aren’t enough good people to go around?















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