New survey says 80% of contractors report difficulty finding qualified workers

Contractors are skeptical of the quality of the pipeline for recruiting and preparing new craft personnel

August 28, 2019
Associated General Contractors of America
Image: Associated General Contractors of America

Eighty percent of construction firms report having a hard time filling hourly craft positions in the construction workforce, according to the results of an industry-wide survey recently released by Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

“Workforce shortages remain one of the single most significant threats to the construction industry,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s chief executive officer, in a news release. “However, construction labor shortages are a challenge that can be fixed, and this association will continue to do everything in its power to make sure that happens.”

Nearly 2,000 respondents participated in the survey. About 73% of firms report it will continue to be hard, or get even harder, to find hourly craft workers over the next 12 months. One reason for their worries is that contractors are skeptical of the quality of the pipeline for recruiting and preparing new craft personnel. Forty-five percent say the local pipeline for preparing well-trained and skilled workers is poor. And 26% say the pipeline for finding workers who can pass a drug test is poor.

Labor shortages are prompting many firms to boost pay and compensation. Two-thirds of firms report they have increased base pay rates for craft workers. And 29% report they are providing incentives and bonuses to attract craft workers.

From those surveyed 29% of firms report they are investing in technology to supplement worker duties. One-fourth of firms report they are using cutting-edge solutions, including drones, robots, and 3-D printers.

Even as the industry works to address labor shortages, 44% of firms report they are increasing construction prices and 29% are putting longer completion times into their bids for new work because of the lack of workers, putting future development and infrastructure projects at risk. Association officials called on the federal government to boost funding for career and technical education. They also called on federal leaders to allow more immigrants to enter the country to work in construction, let construction students at community and career colleges qualify for federal Pell Grants, and make it easier for firms to establish apprenticeship and other training programs.

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SOURCE: Associated General Contractors of America

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