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Lessons Learned from IBS 2016: It’s Time to Build Back the Bench

Schaffer Associates

Design & Construction Week

Last week, Schaffer Associates attended the International Builders’ Show (IBS) and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Las Vegas. Both shows were part of Design & Construction Week, giving companies and organizations within the industry an opportunity to view the latest trends and new technologies, pursue new business avenues, and discuss the economic outlook for our industry. For Schaffer Associates, it gave us a very clear picture of what to expect in 2016 and what the industry as a whole is preparing for this year.

Both shows were incredibly well-attended and successful, even more-so than in recent years. The large crowd was reflected by consistently positive commentary from organizations in attendance about the state of their business and their expectations for 2016. Almost everyone we talked to is encouraged by the general trend of the industry and feels like their own organization is in a strong position to grow in the months ahead. Business is good for our industry and for many, it is busting at the seams.


However, we were struck by the number of people who testified to the lack of skilled labor available to be hired. Across the nation, employers are finding that many workers who left the job market during the recession simply haven’t come back. Those individuals are hard to find and even harder to replace, making business growth very difficult at a time when it should be easy.

Schaffer Associates

International Builders’ Show 2016

Businesses are specifically finding a shortage of trade labor and management labor, two areas that are in high demand as the industry quickly rebounds. Unfortunately, without the right job candidates, it is hard for companies to take full advantage of the economic comeback our industry is making. An example of that comeback is pent-up demand for housing that was suppressed for years during the recession.

John Norris, an economist and the Managing Director of Oakworth Capital Bank, spoke about population growth during the IBS Crystal Vision Awards Breakfast. His statistics show that the country is growing by approximately 3 million people each year. With each household averaging 2.5 people, that equates to 1.2 million new housing units every year, not including the need for new or replacement homes for current families. That level of home construction hasn’t been seen since before the recession. When this pent-up demand actually becomes a reality, and it will, will your company have the human resources necessary to meet the demand?

Schaffer Associates

Crystal Vision Awards Breakfast

Many industry experts also discussed market volatility at last week’s shows. In comparison to the 2015 market, this year appears to be very good but similarly volatile. But while volatility is expected to an extent, large peaks and valleys are not anticipated, making this year an incredible opportunity for companies to take the next big step in their resurgence from the recession of years past. In order to do so, they need to partner with hiring professionals with industry expertise. That’s where Schaffer Associates comes in. At IBS and KBIS, we had discussions with many companies about our approach to finding those skilled job candidates who are becoming harder and harder to find. We can do the same for you and ensure that 2016 is as successful for your organization as it can possibly be.


Schaffer Associates

Schaffer Associates is an executive search firm specializing in talent acquisition for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As premier executive recruiters with expert focus on your industry, we help you HIRE SMART.

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