Labor in the Construction Industry
Labor shortages in the construction industry and an aging workforce, on top of project delays due to an increasing time lag in the supply chain, will continue to affect construction projects, making for extended challenges for the remainder of 2022.
The Statistics of Age
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a construction worker is 42.5 years old. It is not out of the ordinary to have shifts in the workforce age demographic as older employees depart and younger ones enter the workforce. However, younger workers are not entering construction nearly at the same rate retiring ones are departing.
Wages in the Construction Industry
In 2021, increasing wages were also up 4.61% for supervising construction workers and 5.26% for field construction workers. It’s simple supply and demand pushing wages higher. It is a perfect storm brewing – workers aging out and still not enough coming in. Ultimately, more needs to be done on recruitment efforts to make up for the gap. However, retainment is also a significant effort to keep in mind.
What can employers proactively do to navigate these complexities?
Employers need to continually assess their workforce and regularly examine their full insurance and benefits package. Moreover, they must ask themselves if they are setting their employees up for long-term success beyond their years on the job. This, in turn, helps creates loyalty and reduces some of the staffing capacity pressure.
Youth Outreach in the Construction Industry
Shifting the paradigm for the younger generation to understand the benefits of a construction career is vital for the industry. It will affect succession planning and, therefore, sustainability. Establish apprenticeship training programs to encourage younger workers along their professional development journey. It will be the construction companies that position their marketing efforts towards younger audiences, actively recruiting within high schools and community colleges with trade programs, that will successfully attract younger workers.
The construction industry must continue to aggressively market to the next generations. They must show the benefits and gratifications of a construction career. Otherwise, the effects of a shrinking workforce will have a ripple effect on the price of projects. It will also affect the length of time for project completion. If left unattended, there may very well be projects never built because of labor shortages.