- International engineering and construction giant AECOM on Wednesday announced a six-month hiring initiative that will aim to add more than 3,000 workers to support its North American infrastructure operations.
- The open positions range from skilled labor to architects and engineers, and the new hires will work on the company's transportation, building, environment, water, defense and energy projects.
- AECOM said the massive hiring spree is in response to the country's renewed focus on repairing its highways, bridges and other public assets.
This announcement comes on the heels of the company's decision to form a federal contracting division, which will be headed up by former Kiewit Corporation executive Vern Kuehn. AECOM said the goal of the new division is to utilize design-build and integrated project delivery on projects for its federal clients, which include the military, the General Services Administration and the State Department.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that AECOM was getting ready to implement a five-year, $3.5 billion program of procurement and investment with the objective of becoming the largest infrastructure firm in the world. This move is reportedly to prepare for efforts like the $1 trillion infrastructure program proposed by President Donald Trump. The company also submitted a $200 billion list of recommended water and infrastructure projects — with a total economic impact of $1.3 trillion — to the Treasury Department.
Although Trump made infrastructure a key component of his campaign, he has yet to release any details for his proposal. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has said an outline of the program could come in the next few weeks. This ongoing uncertainty has somewhat deflated the optimism of the construction industry after the election.
AECOM's plan to go on a hiring frenzy could face the obstacle of the ongoing skilled-labor shortage, which is seen in craft labor as well as professional positions. The Associated General Contractors reported earlier this year that 73% of construction companies surveyed expect to have trouble finding qualified help this year, but 73% also expect to take on more work, which will increase staffing needs. Some companies are boosting pay and benefits in order to win the war for talent
One infrastructure project not on AECOM's agenda is the U.S.–Mexico border wall, according to CityLab. Other major infrastructure companies like Bechtel and CH2M have also said they will not bid on the project. In addition, cities like Los Angeles, Oakland, CA, San Francisco and New York have either introduced or are exploring legislation that would prevent contractors who bid on the wall from performing work in their municipalities.