The labor shortage comes as demand for construction continues to grow. Construction employment expanded in 258 out of 358 metro areas between July 2016 and July 2017, according to an analysis of federal construction employment data.
According to the results of an industry-wide survey released by Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America, 70 percent of construction firms report they are having a hard time filling hourly craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce. While job opportunities across sectors increase as 10,000 baby boomers retire daily and job growth in construction is expected to double the national average, fewer millennials are choosing that field.
Association officials said that many construction firms are changing the way they operate, recruit, and compensate, but cautioned that chronic labor shortages could have significant economic impacts without greater investments in career and technical education.
As labor challenges continue to grow, technology will play an increasingly important role in supporting the existing workforce while inspiring the next generation of construction industry professionals. New technologies, such as Internet of Things-based wearables and analytics solutions, that provide jobsite visibility help contractors optimize their current workforce, promote worker safety, and attract workers to the field.
Triax Technologies identifies a few key strategies available to attract a new, tech-savvy workforce to fill the labor gap.
- Promote the connected jobsite and industry: Today’s evolving construction technology ecosystem, which combines building information modeling, mobile applications, project management software, smart tools, telematics-equipped machinery, and wearable sensors, provides visibility into site activity and project operations, improving safety and productivity.
- Challenge the status quo: To recruit millennials, construction firms should implement a mindset that challenges the status quo, incorporates new technology, and embraces innovation.
- Focus on continuous safety improvement: Everyone involved in the industry must prioritize, preach, and practice safety daily to combat construction’s often poor safety reputation. Effective site safety requires everyone’s participation, and leading contractors are engaging workers, supervisors, and managers in safety discussions and leveraging their experiences to shape protocols and best practices.