If you’ve been watching the construction industry for a while, you might think that the labor shortage is going to last forever. When experts say that construction demand is going to decrease, it often seems that demand grows even more. The shortage is tied closely to demand, but it’s not exactly the same. Here are a few ways you can look at the state of the labor shortage, and what it means for working in construction in the future.
Demand Is High
Evaluating the current state of demand for construction is more complicated than it seems. You can look at reports of new construction starts over the past few months, and that will give you some information but not a complete picture. Part of the problem with construction’s labor shortage is that demand is currently high. The pressure to complete projects relates somewhat to existing demand for housing and commercial spaces, as well as a resurgence after drops in demand during 2020 due to the pandemic. In essence, there are still a lot of projects that property owners would like to start, regardless of when they actually decide to do so.
Experts Are Retiring
Of course, in order to complete those projects, there needs to be a moderate pool of experts available to do highly-specialized tasks. The trouble is that there isn’t, and the problem continues to get worse. For the past few years, many people in construction have been retiring after careers of 30 to 40 years or more. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough people coming in with the skills needed to replace them. This aspect is where the labor shortage can get perplexing. Even if hundreds of thousands of people flooded the industry, it wouldn’t solve the problem immediately. The industry needs people to fill roles that are high in demand.
Skills Take Time
The construction industry has spent the last few years trying to figure out how to motivate more people to join, and part of that is enticing people to build the experience that they will need in order to meet the demands. Although you may not need a ton of experience to work in a variety of construction jobs, the ones with the highest salaries and the greatest job security may take a few years to establish. As such, when you read about construction businesses trying to appeal to workers, you should keep in mind that it’s a long game. They’re hoping to create a future pool of construction workers and contracting business owners.
Delays Will Continue
Right now, the experience of many contracting business owners is a bit of a struggle. People have to fight to get subcontractors in certain fields, which can lead to delays in completing projects. In some cases, property owners even decide to put a project on the backburner because they can’t find the professionals needed to do the work. In the short term, this can drive innovation because businesses will have to get more creative and efficient with their processes. In the long term, the industry has to plan to minimize the extent of the shortage, even if it can’t be eliminated entirely.
Now’s the Time
All this means that now is a great time to start in construction. Businesses are bordering on desperate for workers, which can be a great opportunity for someone looking for better employment and a stronger career path. Starting now isn’t likely to hurt your future prospects, because demand is set to continue for years into the future.
Solving construction’s labor shortage starts with the decision to join the industry. For more information about your future in construction, contact CSLS today!