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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Skills Don’t Pay the Bills (or the BIMMers) - NYTimes.com

As I'm packing for my flight out to AU tomorrow morning, I'm thinking about this article I read this morning.  As thousands of people from around the world all come together for four days of advanced skills training in a multitude of Autodesk products, I can't stop thinking about a profound problem I've been noticing for years.

Essentially, BIM is hard.  Changing your workflow, process, methodology, software, consultants and add a multitude of new programs (dare you enter the Exhibit Hall on Tuesday and see hundreds of software vendors with peripheral software to the Autodesk ecosystem) is not easy.  The next four days will be astounding and overwhelming.

As you see the presentations and ask yourself how the heck are you ever going to learn how to do that or get your boss to invest in a new program, we're still in an industry that has long hours and sometimes low wages.

There's only so much outsourcing that cheap firms can do in sending work to China or India.  I don't mean that in an offensive way since it's amazing the vastness of the intellectual base in those countries.  But, how do you take that onto a job site or an IPD project.  You can't.  It's all about the people and they need to be in the same room....collaborating.

How do we find time to take a week off to attend AU, especially after a 2 day holiday last week.  How will we ever get caught up with our workload and inbox?

Where will the people come from that will be doing the AEC jobs of the future?  We already know that the CAD drafter has no place at a Revit workstation.  When Alix teaches his class on Navisworks for Architects this week, how many of you architects will have the time to learn another program as part of your process?  Amazingly, our company found a way to create the BIM ecosystem and we've found some great people with amazing skill sets (yes David T, I'm finally talking about you, even though I hate OneNote).

I still don't understand how any architect could come to AU for AutoCAD classes when there's so much to learn about Revit, Navisworks and great apps like Vasari, but that's their problem. In the meantime, for those of you attending AU, good luck absorbing every tidbit of information and bringing that home and implementing them.

To those who don't get BIM and refuse to switch to Revit, good luck finding cheap labor who can magically transform your firm from 2D to 3D, 4D, 5D, 6D and anyD that comes after that.

We have a problem.  We need more highly skilled and talented people and they need to earn a decent wage.  That means that architecture firms need to get better projects, more profit and have owners start paying more for BIM and beyond.  Until we change that, we're going to have problems.


“Trying to hire high-skilled workers at rock-bottom rates,” the Boston Group study asserted, “is not a skills gap.” 

 “If there’s a skill shortage, there has to be rises in wages,” he says. “It’s basic economics.” After all, according to supply and demand, a shortage of workers with valuable skills should push wages up. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of skilled jobs has fallen and so have their wages.


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