As the electrical construction industry faces a worsening labor shortage, Ben Bigelow, Texas A&M assistant professor of construction science, is busy identifying best practices for attracting and retaining members of two of the industry’s traditionally underrepresented groups: women and minorities.
Industry representatives believe these groups will help meet their field’s future labor demands.
Bigelow is conducting a study, “Diversity in the Electrical Construction Industry,“ in two phases, the first of which is funded by Southwire and Graybar, two member companies of the ELECTRI Council, an advocacy group of electrical construction firms.
Among the questions Bigelow is exploring in the study’s initial six-month phase are how and why female and minority managers entered the electrical construction industry, what factors affect their loyalty to their employer, and what reasons they or others they know changed jobs.
In the study’s second phase, Bigelow will query industry craft workers from traditionally underrepresented groups.
“For the first part of the study, I will collect data through an online survey,” said Bigelow. “The study’s second phase will likely include direct worker contact.”
Bigelow, who recently earned a Distinguished Achievement Award from The Association of Former Students, studies residential construction, affordable and sustainable housing. In addition to his research relating to underrepresented groups in construction management, Bigelow studies construction finance, preconstruction techniques and construction education.