At this point, it would be quicker to list the number of cities that haven’t reported construction projects being impacted by the skilled worker shortage than the ones that have. In the past year alone we’ve reports from Houston, Minnesota, Louisiana, Phoenix, Wisconsin, Michigan and California, just to name, well, several.
It’s everywhere. Back in September, the AGC said 74 percent of firms it surveyed said they had been impacted. And 86 percent of those contractors said they don’t expect it to get better.
Offering more confirmation is FMI’s 2013 U.S. Construction Industry Talent Development Report. The report is based on a nationwide survey of general contractors and construction managers at companies of all sizes and specialties.
FMI, a management consulting and investment banking provider for the engineering and construction industry, reports more than half of the respondents to the survey report a shortage in skilled workers.
The report also details how these companies are dealing with the problem. More than 75 percent of those surveyed said they are promoting internally, training up workers who don’t have the necessary skills and providing internship and co/op programs to recruit new talent.
The good news is that most of the companies surveyed are being proactive about fixing the problem. More than half said they are working to identify gaps in core competencies, doing more to make sure they’re employing “best practices” in keeping the talent they already have and they’re increasing recruiting efforts at schools and universities.
The reality is, to fix the problem far more than half of contractors need to be doing those sorts of things. As we’ve said before, recruiting the current generation of students and young Americans is not impossible. They just need the correct information about careers in construction: that a career in the industry is a solid one that is necessary and pays very well.
The industry certainly needs more people to step up as Mike Rowe has, designing pledges to represent the work and offering scholarships, as well as being unwilling to compromise the message that skilled tradespeople are necessary by politicizing it.
The FMI also makes a great point in urging construction firms to make sure that while it’s doing more to recruit young people, to also do more to appeal to women and minorities.
To download a copy of FMI’s full taken report, click here.