Construction Labor Shortage? Build Your Own Workers
A survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America in partnership with software firm Autodesk found that 80 percent of the construction companies they contacted say they can’t find enough workers, and the ramifications of that are reducing not only profitability but also a company’s ability finish work on time and take on new projects. But while a shortage of construction labor is a persistent and serious problem across the nation, industry experts are brainstorming ways that construction companies can have an impact for the good of all and especially their own bottom lines.
In an article that explores the labor shortage from all angles, PlanGrid, an Autodesk company, writes that the problem is two-fold. First, after the recession crippled the industry a decade or so ago, some 2.3 million construction jobs were lost and now those workers are either retiring or well down the path of a different career. But also, the millennial workers coming into the labor scene now don’t have the skills or the interest for construction work.
Some of the solutions being developed to address labor issues for the construction industry are technical tools such as robotics and 3D printers or efficiencies gained with things like planning software or time-saving equipment such as the portable toilet/roll off dumpster combination that Redbox+ rents.
But the main emphasis for tackling the labor shortage, the article says, must be on developing workers who can fill in the gaps and incentivizing them in a way that keeps them on the job for years to come. Pay, benefits, and bonuses are all tools a company can use to attract workers. But there are less tangible tools that work well too, the article says, such as offering free training, mentorship, and career-building programs.
In addition, outreach to high schools and technical colleges can help stimulate the development of trades programs that could channel more workers towards construction work when they enter the job market, the article says, and untapped demographic groups such as women, returning veterans, and immigrants could provide valuable pools of human resources with the proper training.
Though the construction industry might never return to the abundance of skilled workers it had in years gone by, construction companies can survive and even excel in the industry just by retooling their approach to finding and cultivating a team of craftspeople. Click HERE to read the entire article.