Construction job openings in the U.S. have risen by at least 200,000 in 2014 alone, caused primarily by an increase in the number of construction projects in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. However, many factors have dampened this bit of good news to a point where construction firms are still short on workforce, with a severe lack of qualified job applicants.
The recession is already behind us, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) declared December 2014 as the “third highest month of unfilled construction jobs,” according to a news release. In addition, the construction industry is predicted to fall short by about 1.6 million workers come 2022.
The labor shortage due to lack of skilled workers may be caused by either changes in high school teaching to focus on college preparation instead of job skills development, or a shift in careers or retirement of skilled construction workers. Whatever the cause is, industry analysts suggest the following changes in order to pacify the difficulty of labor deficiency:
- Establishment of sustainable work safety rules
- Proper screening of job seekers
- Continual development of current workers
- Sharing of information to students about the construction industry
- Upgrade in salary and benefits for employees
- Concern for workers with long tenure
- Acceptance of veterans into the industry
- Active hiring of laid-off employees from other fields
- Coordination with manufacturers on specialized tasks
- Connection to industry organizations
By being diligent about drumming up interest in construction jobs among youth and making sure they are taken care of throughout their career and beyond, the construction industry can help temper the labor shortage so it doesn’t get worse.