You read a lot about construction’s labor shortage and ways that the industry is trying to get around it. Although new approaches like automation and modular construction can decrease the numbers needed for a particular project, eliminating jobs isn’t sufficient. In order to survive the thousands of professionals who retire from construction each year, the industry needs plenty of skilled tradespeople ready to replace them. Here’s how the industry, with help from local governments, is trying to ensure this happens.
Whenever you read anything about the labor shortage, you may see an emphasis in skilled workers. After all, if you need an electrician or someone who can fix an elevator, you can’t just grab the first person who walks by. After decades of demeaning skilled trades as beneath the hallowed halls of academia, colleges are realizing that they need these programs more than ever. States like Illinois are investing millions of dollars into training and apprenticeship programs that will help interested people develop the skills and experience they need to meet the demand. Here in California, colleges pursue grant money to help them create certificate and non-certificate programs to get students involved.
Improved Working Conditions
When millions of people in construction lost their jobs with the housing crisis, the professionals who remained were left with a particularly complicated situation. Once housing and urban development began to rise again, they needed a lot of skilled workers in a big hurry. They’re still working on this. The industry has been in a period of rapid growth for nearly a decade and it’s so far behind.
By this point, the problem is not so much that people left the industry to do other jobs. It’s that a diminishing pool of new workers came to replace them. Employers are starting to seriously rethink what they need to do to get people to start in the industry in the first place. This means higher pay, better benefits, safer working conditions and a higher degree of predictability in employment.
Expansion of Modular Construction
Modular construction is one way that construction business owners have found can streamline the jobs they have into something that Millennials and Generation Z actually want to consider. Let’s face it: There are parts of California that are a positive delight year-round, but there are also plenty of places that are simply nasty in winter, summer or both. Modular construction has the benefit that so much of the work is completed offsite, in controlled settings. This allows employees to keep a schedule that works better for them, in a place not governed by weather and daylight, possibly closer to home. The use of technology to get work done faster is an added bonus.
Changes to Zoning Regulations
The thing about urban sprawl is that it affects where people live, as well as their jobs. Jobs in construction still operate mostly from the site, which means that distance plays a factor. If you knew that you would have to commute 100 miles each way to do your job, you might consider a different industry. And if you don’t live anywhere near the places where contracting businesses are thriving, you’ll either have to move or find a way to commute. As a way to combat this, cities are looking at their existing zoning regulations and trying to find ways to make different methods work. Flexibility opens up more options for housing, which can positively improve the choices you have for where you live and work.
The construction labor shortage is likely to continue for several years to come. This means that if you get into the industry now, you’ll have a lot of opportunities to grow. To get started, contact CSLS today!