The construction industry offers steady employment with high wages and the opportunity for career advancement, so why is it so hard to find qualified workers?
More than 90% of the 2,700 contractors, construction managers, builders, and trade contractors surveyed by the Commercial Construction Index reported having a difficult time finding qualified workers to fill the gaps in their business.
Of those 2,700 construction workers more than one third, 37%, believe that in the last six months that the problem has become much worse. Just about half of those, 47%, believe that the problem will continue to get worse in the next six months as well.
On average, construction workers in the industry today are older than the workers in the rest of the economy. Only 9.4% of the industry’s workers are younger than 25 and only 1.8% is between 16 and 19 years old. Both are just below the national average for all industries.
But what can be done to solve the problem? About 79% of construction firms are planning to expand their workforce in 2019 according to a recently released survey from the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate.
Many construction firms even increased their workers salaries to keep retain good talented workers. A 2017 study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce says that there are 3,477,000 people that have good-paying jobs in the construction industry with a median salary of $59,000.
Efforts to hire younger, qualified workers have started to take off nationwide with programs like the one in California that is increasing awareness for the construction industry by allocating $1.5 billion to enhance vocational and technical education programs in public schools and others like The Home Builders Institute based out of Washington, D.C. This program provides trade school programs for ex-offenders, veterans, and at-risk youth.
How do you think we can fix the worker shortage in the construction industry? Let us know in the comments!