NFPA continues to meet the needs of today’s skilled workforce

The official NFPA mission is to help save lives and reduce loss with information, knowledge and passion. We take this role seriously, working tirelessly to understand the work all those who rely on us do every day so that we can develop and deliver the tools and resources that support their work.

It means we must stay on top of fire and life safety professionals’ current challenges and needs, particularly as things continue to shift and change in today’s ever-evolving world, and as the expectation to do more with less has increasingly become the norm.

With that understanding, NFPA conducted an industry trends survey last fall to identify the needs of skilled trade workers in 2023, focusing on employee sentiment toward training, labor shortages, use of technology on the job site, and how technology supports their top priorities.

Key findings from the survey include the following:

  • Nearly half of respondents (45 percent) said a shortage of qualified workers would be their biggest challenge at work in 2023. Forty-two percent said they anticipate their budgets will focus on increased hiring to replace or add jobs in 2023.
  • Sixty-eight percent of respondents felt a desire to work with innovative, non-traditional tools on a jobsite, while 17 percent found that the lack of job-enabling technology was one of their biggest challenges on the jobsite in 2022.
  • While 32 percent of respondents currently use technology on the jobsite on a day-to-day basis, nearly one-third (28 percent) of trade workers anticipate their organizations’ 2023 budgets will be focused on updating manual or outdated equipment. Twenty-five percent of respondents believe technology implemented in their day-to-day job functions would improve accuracy and safety.

In sum, this data tells us that skilled workers need greater access to innovative technologies, enabling them to do their jobs more nimbly and efficiently. This is increasingly important as hiring across many industries has lagged, existing tools and resources have become outdated over time, and codes and standards contain updated requirements.

We will capitalize on this survey data to help inform our efforts in the year to come as we continue to develop resources that best support fire and life safety professionals across multiple fields, including electrical, manufacturing, construction, engineering, architect/design, facility maintenance, fire service, and insurance/risk management.

At the same time, I was encouraged to see that the digital platforms, trainings, and resources we’ve launched over the past few years accurately reflect many of the trends and preferences expressed in the survey findings. For example, NFPA’s digital codes and standards platform, LiNK®, provides dynamic access to our codes and standards, making it easier than ever to access needed information. We’ve also continued to build and offer online trainings across multiple industries, helping ensure that workers can execute with maximum proficiency.

As NFPA continues its mission of delivering that latest information and knowledge, I encourage everyone to continue providing us your feedback on how we can help you do your jobs better. Understanding these professional needs helps drive success for all of us in 2023 and beyond.

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Jim Pauley
President & CEO of NFPA