In part 1 of this topic, the ISA’s perspective was shared on the “state of interest in the practice of Arboriculture”, particularly how data suggests that interest “has been on a steady decline over the last several decades”. I have witnessed dozens of coworkers beginning and ending their Arboriculture careers in 12 months or less. The common response I encounter from owners and managers is that these people were poor candidates, and they were plain and simple not cut out for the rigors of the biz. To those embracing this viewpoint and seeking only experienced recruits – the herd of unicorn master arborists has grown very thin due to unsustainable collective planning. Draining the talent pool while complaining about “the kids these days” or “high flight risk potential” as the primary reason for not refilling the talent pool may feel good now, but if it hasn’t bit your business already, it will soon.
We should all be asking questions along the lines of “what changes are being brought to our workplace to develop, integrate and retain inexperienced employees?”. Collaborating with our colleagues on these challenges is vital if we are going to get ahead of this growing issue: What is working? What isn’t working? What lessons have been learned? If we fail to attract new membership to the Arboriculture profession, the kind of professionals required to lead and maintain operational capacity will become the increasingly rare, and those that remain can enjoy increased workloads.
As I skim through heaps of job postings, one trend on the experienced-side of postings is problematic. That being the expectation that candidates are turn-key for the role through experience, education, and credentials (subject to a post-interview skills evaluation). While I wholeheartedly endorse the value and need for education, credentials, qualification and experience, the messaging from industry is “the successful candidate will do the heavy lifting on development somewhere else and come to us when they meet our benchmarks”. Those that live by that sword, will die by that sword as the best and brightest on their programs perpetually seek higher wages and benefits in the private or public sector.
These are a few examples of the kind of information missing from many job postings between requirements and the bottom line, and the kind of program culture change that will make a difference in your workplace (if a sustainable workplace matters to you).
- Gary Oaks