Construction Industry, Mid Boom, Can't Find Enough Qualified Workers to Complete Jobs
In a recent survey by the Association Contractors of America, nearly 80% of construction businesses report they are having trouble finding qualified skilled labor. Newsweek reported that construction spending peaked in November at $1 trillion, driven by Trump’s promise to deliver on infrastructure investments. Since the building industry has experienced a steady and positive growth over the past year, the growth would be even faster if there were enough qualified employees.
Between 2006 to 2011, the construction industry lost nearly 2.3 million jobs. About 210,000 construction jobs were added to the American workforce, according to the Dept. of Labor.
In fact, a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) revealed that 69 percent of its members were experiencing delays in completing projects on time due to a shortage of qualified workers.
"The demand for new housing is there, inventory is low, and home prices are going up, so there could be more construction in 2018, but one of the limiting factors will be the low number of workers available to build those houses," chief economist Robert Dietz from the National Association of Home Builders told Newsweek.
Where Have All the Workers Gone?
Construction firms are having a harder time recruiting and hiring qualified workers. Many have raised their pay, making it almost 10% higher than the private-sector average.
One of the problems is that many skilled workers left the industry when the recession hit, and they never returned. Compounding this is the fact that millennials are not pursuing this type of job, nor are college-bound students considering a career in construction.
To fill the gap, companies need to encourage youth to return to the construction industry; create more jobs in this field for returning military; and determine what it is that workers in this industry need and want in order to fill the demand.
Technology can be one answer. Using digital tools from Command Alkon that speed quoting, ordering, shipping, tracking and billing can boost manual processes, offload admin tasks and free people to learn new trade skills. Software can keep workers on task and ensure everyone has easy access to a job’s specs, blueprints, material lists and change orders.Command Alkon solutions for the heavy building materials market can help shorten work cycles, reduce errors and speed completion of projects to help with the labor shortage.