August 6, 2018—If preliminary CCO certification statistics for the first half of this year are any indication, there may be some reason to believe a new generation of crane operators could be beginning to emerge. That will be good news for employers who have long bemoaned the steadily aging population of crane operators.
When adjusted for recertification, fully 28 percent of the 12,347 certifications issued by NCCCO in the first six months of 2018 were to operators 30 years old or younger. That potentially represents more than 2,000 individuals entering the crane and rigging workforce for the first time or settling into a career path.
It’s far too early to tell what these preliminary statistics really mean in terms of addressing the skills shortage that has impacted this industry for so long,” said NCCCO Director of Operations Joel Oliva, “or even if it’s part of a trend. But it’s certainly a very encouraging sign.” NCCCO has previously reported the average age of a certified mobile crane operator to be more than 55 years, and tower crane operators are on average even older.
“That’s one of the prime motivators for NCCCO to remain so involved with the Lift and Move USA initiative,” remarked Oliva. “Unless we can make a convincing case to youth to actively consider crane and rigging as a viable career option, the construction industry will continue to suffer.”