The outlook for new residential and non-residential construction is increasingly positive. But with more projects on the horizon, new fears are emerging regarding a potential shortage of skilled construction workers.
Industry Falloff and Attrition
According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), many tradesmen retired or left the industry over the past decade causing a shortage of skilled plumbers, electricians, roofers and other essential trades.
AGC is attempting to curtail the shortfall by urging education officials to bolster vocational programs that prepare students for construction industry careers. Additionally, AGC has pressed Congress and the White House to reject proposed caps on construction industry workers in new legislation on immigration reform.
Similarly, some states are aggressively marketing the benefits associated with construction careers in an effort to lure qualified candidates. In Wisconsin for example, the state’s affiliated branch of the AGC created the Build Wisconsin program to inform high school students about advantages in choosing employment in the construction field. The program breaks down industry opportunities into four categories, and offers comprehensive educational training to meet Wisconsin’s construction industry needs.
Race Against Time
With continued improvement in the construction sector, industry hiring authorities are on the clock, working hard to recruit new workers while restocking their applicant pools. In the end, only time will tell whether the supply of skilled tradesmen will meet demands.