In the new year, the commercial construction industry will continue to struggle with an ongoing labor shortage. As more and more baby boomers retire, fewer young professionals are entering the field. The industry has many perks for ambitious professionals, but most students and young professionals are unaware of the benefits. It’s time to begin implementing creative solutions to appeal to more a broader population of potential employees. Here are some creative solutions to the labor shortage.

Focus on Diversity

Traditionally, (and currently) most construction professionals are men. The quickest way to offset the talent shortage is to make the construction industry more appealing to women. There is already a successful grassroots program called Power Up that is educating young women on the benefits of working in the trades, as most people don’t realize the salary potential, growth opportunities, and job stability fields like construction offer. Another issue is the transition. Most construction professionals are used to working alongside just men—most of whom come from similar backgrounds. As you hire more diverse employees, it’s good idea to host training sessions around diversity. You want all of your employees to feel safe, supported, and that they have the potential to advance.

Invest in Technology

One thing many young professionals have in common is a love for technology. They grew up attached to their phones, video game consoles, and other tech devices. Most people don’t associate construction work with technology. Some construction companies are introducing innovative technology like virtual reality headsets to appeal to students who want careers that utilize their tech skills. Technology is an easy way to get kids enthusiastic about a job, especially technology like VR, which is used in the video game industry. Power Up is using VR as a simulator to show student-aged women what working in construction is like. One reason women have historically avoided the construction industry is because they have misconceptions about what the work involves. They don’t know that some machinery like cranes are easy to use and don’t require a lot of strength. Simulating construction work with VR is one of the best ways to attract more diverse professionals to the industry.

The labor shortage presents a real problem for the commercial construction industry. One sure way to overcome the shortage is to attract more women to the industry. They’re the largest diversity group the industry has historically ignored. Creative solutions like VR simulation can help the industry appeal to younger generations who have many misconceptions about working in construction.

 

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