It is no secret that there is a labor shortage in the construction industry. Even so, not everyone is clear on the impact of this shortage or how it arose. Whether you are a construction recruiter or you want to enter the industry and need a better understanding of construction careers, it can be helpful to understand the labor shortage.

Figures to Understand the Labor Shortage

 To provide an idea of the severity of the labor crisis, consider information from the 2020 Construction Outlook Survey. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reported in the study that 81% of construction companies are unable to fill all of their hourly and salaried positions. 72% of firms also predicted labor shortages would be their biggest challenge next year.

According to the HBI Construction Labor Market Report released in April 2021, the construction industry had a shortage of 200,000 workers as of the end of 2020. By January 2021, this figure swelled to 309,000.

Causes of the Construction Industry’s Labor Shortage

 To begin, consider the various factors that brought the current skilled labor crisis. Unsurprisingly, a combination of factors is to blame.

The recession in 2006 began the troubles. When the bubble burst, many people were not able to find work in construction. This led them to turn to other jobs. Even when the demand for construction workers returned, those workers stayed in their new jobs. Some estimates say that in the five years after 2006, the industry lost more than 2 million jobs.

Another challenge the industry faces concerns the ages of the workers. For example, Florida construction workers are 43 to 45 years old on average. This means that many of those in construction careers will retire soon, leaving vacancies.

Unfortunately for the industry, not as many millennials and younger generations have joined the construction industry. Some of this comes from the pressure they faced to attend four-year colleges instead of entering into trades. Another factor also playing a role is that construction is simply less popular among millennials.

The Effects of the Labor Shortage

 The labor shortage directly affects various aspects of construction. The same 2020 survey from AGC asked construction firms about the impact of the shortage. 40% said projects take longer to complete than previously anticipated, and 44% said projects are more expensive. 57% also said that the skilled labor crisis is the biggest challenge to the health and safety of workers.

Although there are no concrete numbers, experts also say that the labor crisis has led to a potential decrease in construction quality. This is a natural result of less experienced project managers.

Possible Solutions to the Labor Shortage

 Construction leadership and firms can try a range of methods to overcome the labor shortage. There is an increase in construction salaries as companies fight to attract workers to their company over the competition.

Some companies have also expanded research into or adoption of automated techniques for some aspects of construction. Others simply use technology to ramp up their recruitment process. Others turn to temporary or flexible workers when they are available.

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