Mapping the Future: Workers need to know where to go and how to get there

Written with the assistance of the National Asphalt Pavement Association Graphics courtesy of National Asphalt Pavement Association

In Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” he lists the habit of beginning with the end in mind®. With this habit, effective people start with an expected outcome and then work toward achieving it. This is the same with many individuals picking a career. While they understand the first step may be on the “ground floor,” seeing a pathway to future advancement is crucial to employee engagement. Companies providing a clear path find attracting and retaining employees easier.

Based on research conducted by GolINTEL, the research group at NAPA consultant Golin, it is clear the asphalt and road construction industry must do a better job of communicating the career growth and opportunities to recruit employees more effectively. The first job that members of the general public connote with highway paving is flagger. They have no depth of knowledge or understanding of the multi-disciplinary, diverse skills needed to run a construction job. In fact, in a series of in-depth interviews, no one ever discussed any office jobs.

After a series of focus groups and then a robust survey, educators and the general public believe these messages were impactful for attracting new employees.

1. Growth pathways and career opportunities

2. Fulfilling careers may not require college or the debt that comes with it

3. Community contribution by building something that is a part of everyday life

While a college degree may be necessary for some roles, many other companies’ positions are filled by employees who started on a paving crew or at the plant with no college degree. American parents mostly (two-thirds) believe that their children should get college degrees. Largely, for the perceived economic security those jobs provide. The research by GolINTEL points to educating the general public and educators on the opportunities for persons with and without college degrees. Industry must showcase positions filled by non-degreed individuals and the career pathway those people followed. Industry must improve on Mapping the Future for potential and current employees.

To learn more about NAPA’s Workforce Development Findings, read Special Report 227 on asphaltpavement.org.

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