Construction has had a labor shortage since 2012. But this year, it’s only got worse. While this may seem like an absolute win for someone new to the field, it’s more complicated than that. It’s true that entering a field while it needs skilled workers can make it easier to find work, but you’ve got to balance that with the project delays and struggle to find other workers. Here’s how a labor shortage can affect your future business plans, and why it’s still a good idea to get started now.
How Is Construction’s Labor Shortage?
If you aren’t living it, it may be difficult to understand the dynamic of the construction labor shortage. The pandemic of 2020 has led to millions more people who are unemployed. You might think that this could address the shortage within a month. However, the major issue with the construction labor shortage is a lack of skilled workers, not just labor in general. This means that even if a government program could flood the industry with millions of new workers, they may not be qualified to do the work required. The solution takes years to implement, especially for people who are just starting in the industry.
What Does the Shortage Mean for Contracting Businesses?
Construction may have slowed down a little in the early months of 2020. But now, it is back with bigger demands. The housing shortage in California in recent years has yet to be resolved, leaving millions more in need of affordable housing options. Wildfire damage spawns recovery efforts. This creates a glut of possible construction projects in a variety of fields within the industry. It also creates problems for contracting businesses, especially those that struggle to find qualified employees or subcontractors to perform certain kinds of tasks. After all, if you can’t find the workers, you may not be able to complete the job.
What Does It Mean for Employees?
Ultimately, the shortage may mean that there are excellent opportunities for employees or people who are interested in building a business in construction over the next few years. When business owners can secure projects, but they struggle to find people who will do the work, the ones who can will be in higher demand. This translates into higher wages and better benefits, on top of more power for employees to bargain. Of course, that assumes that each project will have enough people available to complete it. This is why a majority of contractors are currently reporting delays and even canceled projects, on occasion.
How Could the Shortage Change Over Time?
Although the labor shortage has waxed and waned, it has remained a noticeable problem for almost a decade. This year has forced many businesses, large and small, to invest in ways to tackle it for good. The most practical solutions involve:
Resolving the extensive backlog of construction projects
Helping interested workers gain the skills and experience they need for the jobs most in demand
Balancing the needs of the population with the dynamic of the economy, as far as possible
At present, many organizations are investing in construction education. The goal is to increase the number of people in construction, while also ensuring that they have the skills needed to fill the gap. Within 10 to 15 years, the shortage may be gone or mostly managed.
Is Now a Good Time to Start in Construction?
Experts have been talking about construction’s labor shortage for years. And since many people are old enough to remember the housing crisis of 2008, it’s easy to conclude that it might be too late to start now. In fact, now is one of the best times to invest in construction. Building a portfolio of education and experience to take a position that’s high in demand requires years. But the sooner you start, the sooner you can take advantage of that demand.
Construction’s labor shortage gives employees lots of opportunities, and businesses the responsibility to meet them. To find out where a construction career could take you, visit CSLS today!