According to Policy Advice, there were over 10.2 million construction workers in 2020. This number went up from the previous year’s 7 million. This all sounds promising for an industry currently suffering a massive labor shortage. Still, the demand significantly outweighs the supply of workers, but the labor shortages in the construction industry continue to present unique opportunities.
As one of the oldest industries globally, it is unlikely the world will ever see a day where the construction industry no longer exists. There may be a labor shortage now, but things will likely even back out sooner rather than later.
Labor Shortages in Construction: How It All Started
Before 2018, the construction industry underwent The Great Recession that proved detrimental to the health of the field. Most workers were forced to find new trades and jobs to pay the bills because the demand wasn’t there. Companies weren’t willing to pay for construction projects because other things took precedent during these times.
After 2018, the need for construction labor catapulted, and in 2019 there was $1.45 trillion worth of projects available. Last year, that number grew to $2 trillion. The labor field might be expanding, but it seems the demand for work is ever-expanding as well.
Even with the jump in the number of construction workers between 2019 and 2020, 52% of construction workers in America are between 50 and 69 years old.
The industry is aging out and desperately needs young workers to replace the missing numbers. However, younger generations have long been encouraged to go to college to avoid trade jobs altogether, that a college degree was better and more critical. In reality, construction jobs are some of the most necessary jobs overall.
This calls for a bit of creativity.
Labor Shortages in Construction Presents the Opportunity To Reinvent the Industry
It is time to bring the construction industry into the 21st century. Essentially, rebranding the sector is the number one way to counteract this labor shortage and create industry appeal among younger generations.
It’s time to reboot the industry, and here are a few examples that could properly showcase how creatively, mentally, and physically rewarding the construction industry can be:
- Encouraging the younger generation via recruitment at career days and other student business events can prove the industry’s vitality.
- New Technology:
- It’s no question this industry as a whole lacks proper technology. Investing in robotics to reimagine construction and include more technical positions can get a more diverse crowd interested in building.
- Offer Mentorship, Sponsorship, or Apprenticeship:
- Essentially, the workers could get paid to further their training and experience in construction. The payments come in the form of free training!
Implementing some of these opportunities could help to solve the labor shortage the construction industry currently faces.