With a real 'recruit, reward and retain' crisis still raging, popular trainer and conference speaker Frank Newberry explains what he is currently doing to help people to get better jobs, and pay rises, in the turfcare sector. He answers the question - should you stay in the turfcare profession, or should you leave?
You may have already heard that people are leaving the turfcare professions. The number of unfilled job vacancies in the turfcare professions has been increasing. A recent BIGGA report suggests that more than half (53%) of employers are carrying vacancies at the moment. Workwise, the people who have not left their jobs are having to cover for those who have left.
The research also indicates that, although more than half of greenkeepers are happy working in the profession, more than a third (35%) are looking for opportunities OUTSIDE the profession.
This 'looking for opportunities outside the profession' might also be the case in the other turfcare/groundscare/landscaping professions in the UK. If it is - then more than one in three people in the sector have already answered the question 'Should I stay, or should I go?' They are going.
You may also have heard stories about people making more money driving a delivery van than they were paid as a greenkeeper. If you are on basic greenkeeping wages, and you are fit, and have a clean driving licence, and you do not mind working on your own all day - then it must seem (excuse the pun) that the grass is actually greener - in a driving job!
Should you stay in the profession?
I think that you should stay in the profession. Of course, to progress to the higher paid levels in greenkeeping will need effort on your part and education. I want to make the case for the type of education that can, and will, directly impact your career and pay progression.
Every year, I coach and train turf care professionals and others on how to get a good job. This training is organised by membership organisations like FEGGA, the GMA and BIGGA. With potentially 53% of employers currently carrying vacancies, there should be good job opportunities for people like you all over the place.
Right now might be a good time for you to look for a better job, or better pay INSIDE the industry. People like me can help you in that endeavour.
Pass job interviews and negotiate good pay packages
So far this year, I have worked with greenkeepers from Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Sweden (see photo), Slovakia, South Africa, Spain and the
United Kingdom. All of them are now better able to identify an employment opportunity, write a great CV, apply for good jobs, pass job interviews and negotiate good pay packages.
By the time you read this, I will also have spoken at SALTEX 2022 (at the NEC) on 'Negotiating Your Pay and Perks'. To this, we can add a panel discussion I took part in called 'Recruit, Retain and Reward' with Steve Lloyd (Chairman of BIGGA) and Carol Doran (GMA Board Member).
You already have skills that are valuable to an employer
Again, by the time you read this, I will have had meetings in another European country to talk about how this vital and very specific training can be rolled out to hundreds more people in the turfcare professions.
Of course, you already have skills that are valuable to an employer in the sector - you just need to agree with your employer how much those skills are worth. This is what your career skills education and training is all about.
Sure, you can get higher starting pay in some other professions - but the work, and eventually the wages, will be better in the turfcare professions - especially if you continue to build your skills - in particular your negotiating skills.
A lot of employers are in for a shock
I believe the research I have been quoting results from was done before the current 'cost of living crisis' sent the rate of inflation over 10% and, at the time of writing, the rate looks set to go even higher.
With more than 70 percent of golf clubs already not following the Committee for Golf Club Salaries guidelines on pay for greenkeepers, a lot of employers are in for a shock when people like you start to negotiate a big cost of living pay rise!
Ask for a matching or better salary offer
Of course, we must not forget one thing that you may have already tried i.e. 'strategic' job hunting. You might have gone on a few interviews (inside and perhaps outside the profession), maybe got an offer or two, and then gone back to your current employers and asked for a matching or better salary offer. And why not?
In closing, let me quote BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton. Speaking of BIGGA's survey results, Jim said: "The key is what the game of golf does with this information."
In response to Jim, I can at least, as a trainer in the turfcare sector say what I have been doing.
How about you? Is it time now for you to act? What will you do? Will you stay … or will you go?
© 2022 Frank Newberry