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.)
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
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
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
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:
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
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.)
Part 2: The Supply Side, i.e., The Talent
In addition to the
current BAS job market rebounding, we have the following from the AIA:
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
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?
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
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
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.
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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