3 Ways to Overcome Skilled Labor Shortages

January 2023
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Construction labor shortage, especially in skilled fields, has been an ongoing issue affecting the construction industry. Skilled labor shortages are one of the biggest stressors facing contractors as they build their businesses.

The construction industry's labor force encompasses various trades, from specialized fields such as electrical work, carpentry, masonry, and more. Without skilled laborers, construction companies can't keep up with the overwhelming demand for new residential, commercial, and government projects.

If you are struggling to keep up with the skilled labor demand, here are three solutions to keep your company going.

Develop Existing Employees

Your biggest opportunity may be the one closest to home. One way for contractors to overcome skilled labor shortages in the construction industry is to invest in training and development programs for their current employees.

By providing opportunities for workers to learn new skills and advance their careers, contractors can reduce their dependence on external labor sources and increase the productivity of their existing workforce. This can include offering in-house training sessions, apprenticeship programs, or tuition reimbursement for employees who want to pursue further education or certifications in their field.

Recruit Workers from Other Sectors

Another strategy for contractors to overcome skilled labor shortages is to tap into alternative labor sources, such as recruiting from non-traditional talent pools. For example, some contractors prioritize hiring workers from other countries who have the necessary skills and qualifications to fill labor shortages. Make sure you understand U.S. Dept. of Labor requirements for hiring foreign labor.

Additionally, contractors can recruit workers from other industries or sectors, such as veterans transitioning out of the military or individuals looking to switch careers. Hiring veterans can be a great way to address skilled labor shortages in the construction industry. Veterans bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the job, as well as a strong work ethic and commitment to excellence.

Veterans also have a unique set of skills that can be beneficial to the construction industry. Many veterans have experience in engineering, logistics, and management, which can help with project planning and execution. Additionally, many veterans are trained in specialized trades such as welding or carpentry, which can be invaluable for certain projects.

Veterans are used to working in highly disciplined environments, an experience that can be essential for any construction project.

Lean on Technology

Finally, contractors can also overcome skilled labor shortages by implementing new technologies and automation solutions on their job sites. This can include using drones to survey job sites, 3D printing to produce building components, or other advanced technologies that can increase efficiency and productivity.

According to a study by Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI), robots could replace 2.7 million construction jobs by 2057.

That doesn't mean that current workers in the construction industry need to worry about losing their jobs, however. Instead, expect construction skills to expand to include the operation of drones and other technological advances. Rather than completely replacing skilled workers, robots, machines, and other technical solutions will shift how we work on job sites.

Skilled labor is crucial to growing a successful and sustainable construction business. If you're struggling to find experienced workers in the trades, consider these alternatives. Train and develop talent from within, recruit workers from unexpected places, and look for ways to use technology to decrease labor needs.

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