It’s not a secret that the construction industry has been dealing with a crisis-level labor shortage. As the industry overall is booming and the increasing need for new construction continues at record levels, the trained workforce needed to complete these projects has decreased significantly since 2009.

This labor shortage is a problem you may be experiencing firsthand. You may have construction projects designed and ready to go, yet insufficient hands on deck, creating challenges to both schedule and budget. No general contractor wants to commit to a project, only to discover they can’t complete the task on time because of the scarcity of skilled workers.

This condition can leave several business owners feeling overwhelmed. How do you resolve a problem that affects not just your company but the industry as a whole?

Luckily, there are few actions that you can take toward easing the pain of the current construction labor shortage.


Industry Innovation

The construction industry hasn’t changed much in the last fifty years. There have been huge improvements in building resources and tools, but the way buildings are constructed hasn’t advanced much during that period. That is all about to transform and, fueled by the labor deficiency, that evolution promises to come rapidly for an industry that is habitually reticent to change.

Instead of using masses of construction workers to build and fabricate onsite, construction is moving into off-site warehouses where the procedure has been largely automated, and where labor might be more abundant. Modular construction is advancing rapidly.


Provide Sufficient Training for Workers

Today’s workers desire opportunities to continue learning and growing efficiently; and, by offering training, you can keep them occupied. Providing training is a win-win tactic. It results in more vastly qualified employees for your business, and it also expands goodwill back to these employees; they’ll feel appreciated because of the time and capital you’ve invested in them.

Build on your existing staff. It’s a lot less costly to retain your current staff than to train new; so, as any strong leader would do, listen to what they have to say. Find out what benefits are essential to them. It’s easy to make assumptions about what workers want; but, making the incorrect move could end up wasting a lot of time and money. Maybe workers are concerned about the increasing cost of healthcare or about having a safer work environment. Discover ways to “hear” their opinions through anonymous surveys or during standard check-ins. Make them happy and you will turn them into a promoter for your business.


Women in Construction

Women barely make up 9% of the construction industry. Providing scholarships to women and access to STEM teaching will encourage women to join the construction industry. Diversifying this industry and forming worksites that welcome women is yet another factor to lessen the labor shortage. Reintroducing vocational training at all schools will provide more students access to the training and talent required to accel in the construction industry.


Target your Search

Posting jobs to online gateways or local press may not constantly get you the desired applicants for construction. Reach out to trade schools or academies teaching the skills you require; keep them apprised of your ongoing needs. Have employment postings present on university or college forums, and leverage work fairs and other events to increase your business’ visibility.

The labor shortage is not going away anytime soon. It’s up to you to be innovative in your search and flexible in your training.

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