Our world has changed and adapted in ways we could have never expected over the past 18 months. While the global pandemic had many implications for our nation, one can be felt across all industries— the extreme shortage of labor. Although the construction industry is no stranger to a lack of workers, the pandemic exacerbated this problem even further.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly construction report, 92 percent of contractors in America say they have had “moderate to high levels of difficulty” finding skilled workers. Projects are delayed (and even turned down altogether) due to the lack of tradespeople. The Commercial Observer reports that some states are facing the most severe labor shortage since the Great Recession of 2008.
Eventually (and hopefully soon), those that have been out of work will need to return. It’s vital that we as a construction industry actively try to attract new workers.
Educating The Public
With looming deadlines and project setbacks, this may seem like the last thing on your mind— however, it’s important that we collectively change the perception of our industry to attract new workers. Construction careers are lucrative, rich with opportunity, and often don’t require an expensive college degree. Our industry is also shifting to be more inclusive and prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Educating the public on the advancements and benefits of the construction industry will help us attract a new workforce over time.
The Future of Technology
For Construction Pros explains that emphasizing the technological advancements of the construction industry will help attract new workers— potentially even some that hadn’t previously considered a job in the industry. They report, “changing construction's perception is an industry-wide issue that needs to be solved from a multitude of angles, starting by exposing students to the technology that's driving the industry forward.” The industry is modernizing and changing with the times, and it’s crucial that the public understands that. Technology may also help fewer workers to work more efficiently during this shortage, ease on-the-job strain, and attract a new pool of workers.
While the labor shortage has created setbacks across all industries, we remain hopeful that new workers will meet the demand soon. In the meantime, it’s imperative that we do our part to raise awareness of our industry (and its benefits) in our personal and professional spheres of influence. Construction is a highly-important industry— and we’re confident that it could be a smart-and-successful career choice for skilled workers.