The lack of trained labour in the flooring installation sector was discussed at a flooring summit in Dallas.

Concern over the quality and availability of trained floorcovering installers was a key topic of discussion at the Flooring Installation Summit held in Dallas in August this year. A shortage of floorcovering installers is a worldwide problem as a result of older installers leaving the installation industry and younger people do not want to come into the installation industry due to the hard work that installation is and very little opportunity to further one in the industry financially and otherwise. Nowadays, young people all want softer, easier jobs with high salaries, with all the corporate benefits etc.

During a roundtable discussion represented by manufacturers and industry professionals, the following key areas were addressed: what can the industry do to attract more skilled people who are willing to focus on floorcovering installation as a career? What programmes are in place to make sure installers are adequately trained, and what is the right level of compensation for a skilled craftsman who chooses this career path? An important aspect of this is that one must be able to show a career path of advancement for an installer where they can develop further than being installers in order to give them a brighter future in the floor covering industry.

In fact, a shortage of installers as a great problem has been identified in the USA in 1976 and to date nothing has been done to address the problem.

At the recent FITA AGM held in Johannesburg, this issue was raised as we have a serious problem with a shortage of installers in South Africa and what we have to remember that if we do not have competent certified and adequate installers that can perform installations of excellence, the manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, retailers etc., will not have a business anymore

Chairman of Mannington Mills, Keith Campbell, reminded attendees that installation has been a key area of concern in this business as far back as he can remember. A number of issues were now contributing to the short supply of young talent, namely competition from other trades in the building sector, lack of information regarding potential earnings and incentives to help high school graduates pursue tertiary education. Also see Scott Humphrey interview from the World Floor Covering Association

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Allan De Wit (Technical Support Manager – Belgotex Floors) and for the information contained in this article.