The labor shortage is one of the largest challenges in the construction industry. While this is good news for those in search of construction careers, it is bad for construction firms.

Companies are forced to choose between trying to work without a large enough team or struggling to hire talent.

Take a closer look at the labor shortage in the construction industry, then explore ways to adapt and overcome it.

The Extent of the Construction Industry’s Labor Shortage

Multiple sources have confirmed statistics on the labor shortage in construction. Deloitte, for example, found 52% of executives in construction and engineering are facing severe talent and labor shortages.

This talent shortage is so severe that 60% of firms surveyed in 2021 had canceled or postponed projects because of it.

Another noteworthy figure comes from the 2020 Construction Outlook Survey. The Associated General Contractors of America’s results show that the labor shortage is not new.

It found 81% of the surveyed construction companies were having issues filling hourly and salaried positions. Seventy-two percent expected labor shortages to be their biggest challenge in 2021.

One of the most recent figures comes from the Associated Builders and Contractors in February 2022. The organization’s predictive models say that the construction industry needs at least 650,000 more workers to meet demand this year.

ABC also found that around 1.2 million workers will leave construction and enter other industries in 2022. This will further compound the problem.

Age-related Challenges

The labor shortage also includes some age-related challenges. In the last decade, the number of construction workers who are 25 to 54 went down by 8%. This means more of the industry’s workers are aging and approaching retirement.

How to Overcome the Talent Shortage

Most of the strategies to adapt to the labor shortage involve ways to attract more talent or employees overall.

The following are some options for construction companies:

  • Create a talent pool
  • Offer more training
  • Offer more cross-training
  • Look for freelance workers
  • Look for remote workers, when possible
  • Work with a recruiter
  • Offer overtime pay
  • Reduce hiring standards and supplement with additional training
  • Create a company-wide listing of job openings, projects, and leadership roles
  • Invest in technology

Let’s take a closer look at the final point.

Investing in Technology

Using construction software can boost your overall efficiency. This, in turn, can reduce the need to hire as many workers. The following are just some of the ways that the proper software or technology can improve efficiency:

  • Preventing downtime due to misallocation
  • Boosting accuracy
  • Improving communication
  • Improving safety


Estimates indicate that construction needs 650,000 more workers to meet the demand in 2022. With so much competition for talent, construction firms can do a few things to attract labor. These include expanding roles to remote and freelance workers, increasing training, working with recruiters, and using more technology.

How can we help you?

Searching for an opportunity in the construction industry? Contact The Birmingham Group’s team of seasoned commercial construction recruiters today to discuss your career path or browse our open positions.

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