Have you ever wondered why it’s been so hard to find reliable and skilled workers over the past few years? Are your old recruitment methods failing you? Well, you’re definitely not alone. In the past decade, company owners and contractors all over the country have consistently run into hiring challenges due to labor shortages; in fact, a majority of them claim that the labor shortage is currently the biggest threat to their businesses. On top of that, the employees that they do find are simply not invested in building a long-term career as a skilled tradesperson or construction worker. Why is this happening? And, most importantly, what is needed to move the industry forward?
One of the most well-known causes of the current situation is the housing crisis of 2008. As the housing market crashed, the United States saw a huge departure of workers from the construction industry, one that we’re still largely recovering from. This is, in part, due to the fact that many of those workers never returned, but also because older, skilled craftsmen and experienced construction workers are beginning to retire. On the other hand, younger people are simply not entering the industry, and for a multitude of reasons. Some people believe that construction is dirty work, while others think it is too easy, with no room for self-development and growth. Another group simply doesn't think they will earn enough money to support themselves. True or not, whatever the reasons may be, the end result is a large-scale departure and dwindling new talent in the industry, creating the current labor crisis.
The kicker is, 2021 is shaping up to be a big year for construction. Following President Biden’s focus on infrastructure, projects all across the country are building momentum, making the need for workers in the construction and skilled trades industries even more vital. In fact, this year, data by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the construction industry is expected to need 430,000 more workers than last year, following a 15.6% predicted growth in the industry. And not only is the demand for work higher, but wages have gone up as well, with construction hourly wages from February being 7.7% higher than the average private wages. So, with the number of available projects and the demand for workers rising, the construction industry is well on its way to being the economic boost that our country needs now more than ever. So what can we do to combat this issue while taking advantage of this growth? Well, as an employer, one of the first things you can do is to change recruitment strategies. Check in next week for our tips on leveling up your recruitment practices!