Qualified Staff and Compliance Biggest Challenges – PeopleService Quarterly Survey
More than 75% of water and wastewater managers in the Midwest have major concerns about the shortage of licensed professionals coming into the industry, according to the latest PeopleService Pulse quarterly survey.
Nearly the same number – 73.5% – said that state and federal regulations are evolving so fast it’s difficult to keep pace with them, and more than 88% of those surveyed said that compliance with those regulations is a critical issue.
This coupled with the near unanimous opinion – 94.1% – that modern and safe water and wastewater infrastructure is critical to economic development, paints a picture of the W/WW sector struggling to stay on top of demands for qualified staff in an ever-changing regulatory requirement.
“It’s a scenario we see across the states we operate in,” said PeopleService Director of Sales Chris McMillen. “When we sit down to talk with future customers, they do not necessarily want to outsource the management, operations and maintenance of their systems. When we tell them of the benefits our clients receive by doing so, they start to see how these two challenges – staffing and compliance – can be alleviated.”
The Pulse survey supports this experience with just under 50% of those currently running their own systems saying they fear losing control if they were to outsource the functions, yet they are frustrated and worried about being able to deliver and comply if/when they lose their licensed operators to retirement or relocation.
“The opposite is actually the case as our clients will tell you,” added Chris. “When they partner with PeopleService, the staffing issue is immediately remediated. Imagine being able to sit back, get regular reports on system health, see compliance checklists and know experts are on site, in your community, to take responsibility for assuring what needs to get done, gets done.”
To that point, those who responded to the survey expressed concern that, with outsource, they would lose a local staff.
“We have everything to gain by working with our clients’ existing staff. They know the system, the history, and they know – and are known by – the local community,” responded Chris. “We start by offering training and licensure prep needed by the existing staff, and we offer mentoring and management by our qualified and experienced Region Managers who really have seen it all. This translates into opportunities for expertise and careers to grow.”