Have you been frustrated with rising costs of construction and longer waiting time for project completion? The reason is the increasing construction boom with a massive skilled labor shortage…and it’s only going to get worse. While 1.6 million new skilled labor workers will be needed in the next few years, currently 75% of construction companies report having trouble finding qualified skilled laborers.
IT ALL STARTED WITH THE 2008 RECESSION
Dave Henderer, president of Henderer Design + Build, explains, “I believe that since the great recession, people have left the trade work force and very few have returned. Couple that with the fact that we've taken shop classes out of schools, young people are no longer being exposed to the trades- or even the idea of working with their hands.
“All of this adds up to a shortage of qualified people in the trades. Our work is not something that you can simply hire anyone off the street and expect them to be able to produce at a level that our company is known for; often-times, it will take 3 or 4 hires before we actually find someone with the skills and mindset that is a good fit for our company. This is leading to longer wait times for our clients as it's become difficult to find new, qualified staff.”
CONSTRUCTION IS BOOMING WITHOUT QUALIFIED LABORERS
Laura Evans, owner of Renaissance Roofing, explains why quality roofing contractors are so booked, “The amount of construction jobs in the United States is bouncing back to higher levels than we’ve seen in years; however the amount of workers is not growing with the same momentum.
“This is taking its toll on contractors like us who are trying to meet demand while maintaining a qualified and quality workforce. Refusing to sacrifice quality has meant that jobs are taking longer and the waiting list is growing. The shortage is limiting what contractors are able to do and the amount of work they are able to take on.”
MANY HIGH PAYING SKILLED LABOR JOBS, BUT FEW TAKERS
Laura Evans again explains, “With a plethora of guaranteed well-paying jobs in the construction field, it is strange that no one is taking them. High schoolers are being prepared and pushed towards college, regardless of whether or not that is the best option for them. In recent years, blue collar jobs have gained a bad reputation and are seen as a backup option in many cases.
“We are calling for a change in attitude towards construction and roofing jobs. It is becoming apparent that the long wait times and shortages are not sustainable and not fair to our customers.”
LACK OF SKILLED LABORERS LEADS TO HIGHER CONSTRUCTION COSTS
Trent Irwin, owner of TnT Builders, says, “While we are proud to be able to offer high paying jobs with full benefits to skilled laborers, the shrinking pool of qualified skilled laborers has thrown the construction industry out of balance.
"In order to maintain our high level of quality, we are having to pay more labor costs. We are having to pay higher wages to keep qualified and skilled laborers, and having to hire less skilled and less qualified laborers. Hiring unskilled laborers leads to increased training times, higher turnover rates, slower production, and less safe working conditions. Ultimately all of this leads to unnecessarily higher constructions costs to the customer.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
First, you can promote the skilled trades among students. The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has developed Pipeline, which helps graduating students and skilled labor employers easily find each other; you can find more information at: www.pipelinetojobs.com.
Second, if you know of someone who is looking for a great paying job, have them apply to one of these great businesses and blog contributors:
Renaissance Roofing: www.renaissanceroofing.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Employment-application.pdf
Henderer Design + Build: www.hendererdesignbuild.com
TnT Builders – Deck and Patio Cover Experts: www.tntbuildersinc.com/about