Workforce diversity is not a core business strategy at pest control companies, reported 63 percent of PMPs in the 2018 PCT-NPMA Workforce Diversity Survey. Sixty-two percent believes diversity at companies will occur naturally as the U.S. population becomes more diverse.
In follow-up interviews, PMPs said they welcome people with different backgrounds, perspectives and ages and try to seek them out, although the industry can do better in these efforts.
Curtis Rand, Rose Pest Solutions, urged PMPs to focus on attracting young people, especially college graduates. “That’s going to be the future of our industry,” he said.
More professionals, especially diverse ones, need to visit elementary and high schools to promote the industry. “If we do that, I think we could attract more college and high school kids,” said Sylvia Kenmuir, Target Specialty Products.
“Veterans often get overlooked as well. They bring a lot of skills that somebody who’s not a veteran isn’t really aware of,” said Billy Olesen, Chuck Sullivan Exterminators.
Joe Campbell, vice president of operations, ABC Home and Commercial Services, Dallas-Fort Worth, would like to see more women in customer-facing positions. “Some of my best technicians and salespeople have actually been female, but you just don’t get the volume of women that are drawn to the industry,” he said.
“I don’t look at the ethnicity of my company as a determinant of diversity; what I’m looking for is people that think differently enough to help us make the best decisions,” said Ravi Sachdeva, American Pest Management.
Other companies take a more deliberate approach. The goal at Sprague Pest Solutions in Tacoma, Wash., “is to really mirror the communities that we work in,” said Leila Haas, director of human resources. “We strive to really look at hiring a team that has diversity of skills, backgrounds, learning styles, looking at the communities we serve and reflecting the communities that we serve,” she said.
Haas assesses this strategy by evaluating demographics in the communities that the company serves, comparing this to company demographics, and developing ways to better align the two.