While supply chain issues and the nation’s spotty economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic consistently grabbed headlines during the past year, roofing contractors were still worried about an industrywide workforce shortage and its potential worsening.

Chris Czarnik is trying to help. The author and award-winning speaker will kick off the 2023 International Roofing Expo with a keynote presentation centered on how to find and prepare the next generation of roofers. The event, “Winning the War for Talent: One of the Roofing Industry’s Biggest Challenges,” begins at 9:30 a.m. March 7 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Grand Ballroom. Malarkey Roofing Products is this year’s keynote sponsor.

The Associated Builders and Contractors organization recently reported the construction industry would need more than 650,000 additional construction professionals above the current hiring pace to meet demand.

Nearly half of all roofing contractor respondents to RC’s annual State of the Industry survey last fall indicated the lack of skilled workers was a chief concern, placing it in the top five of all workplace concerns.

Of those contractors struggling with workforce issues, the vast majority, 72%, said finding and recruiting new workers is the most challenging part. "Retaining" employees was also a top concern, with 45% of respondents noting it was one of their top three concerns. That figure increased year-over-year by approximately 7% from last year's survey results.

Czarnik, a former military officer with more than 20 years of experience as a human resource manager, career services manager and job search advisor, will advise on innovative approaches to job searching.

IRE Keynote Address

Title: Winning the War for Talent: One of the Roofing Industry’s Biggest Challenges
Speakers: Chris Czarnik , a speaker, author and employment guru
Date: Tuesday, March 7, 9:30 a.m.
Room: Ballroom A, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center

The military veteran authored “The Human Search Engine” after interviewing and working with thousands of job seekers nationwide; it was also recently introduced to the 113th Congress as a national job search model.

As employment trends shifted, Czarnik started coaching organizations. He has analyzed hiring from every angle and knows the joys and frustrations of finding people who fit a position and an organization’s culture correctly. His next book, “Winning the War for Talent,” was released in 2018 and served as a talent model to more than 2,500 organizations nationwide to transform the process of recruiting, developing, and retaining talent.

As the industry faces an aging workforce and the lingering "Great Resignation" phenomenon, finding and keeping skilled, reliable and ambitious employees is at a premium. Czarnik will outline real-world strategies around employee recruitment, engagement and retention — and should have attendees energized with actionable strategies to implement immediately.

He’ll also provide insight into overcoming current industry challenges from the national labor shortage. For more information, visit theroofingexpo.com.