Construction staffing faces skills shortage

05.18.2012


Construction staffing faces skills shortage
Construction staffing faces skills shortage

Construction staffing is confronting a major skills shortage among workers, a new report from McGraw-Hill Construction suggests.

The report, titled "Construction industry Workforce Shortages: Role of Certification, Training and Green Jobs in Filling the Gaps," is the first study to look specifically at the state of the construction and trade workforce. The study found a huge gap in available construction positions has opened up as a result of the recession, a retiring workforce and a pipeline of young workers that is not as robust as it should be.

The study found that 69 percent of architect, engineer and contractor (AEC) employers say they expect to feel the effects of a skilled workforce shortage in the next three years. Of the respondents, 32 percent said they are worried about a shortage of specialty trade workers by 2014, while 49 percent of general contractors who responded said they expect to struggle to find well-qualified workers by 2017.

The report found that many industrial professionals are unsure how the next generation of construction workers will perform. In another survey used to supplement the McGraw-Hill report, the American Institute of Architects found 79 percent of architecture firms say the current pipeline has enough talent to stack up with those exiting the workplace.

"The downturn in construction activity may be masking a serious problem in the construction industry workforce," said Harvey Bernstein, vice president of Industry Insights and Alliances for McGraw-Hill Construction. "But the rise of green jobs and more availability of training and professional certifications can help to attract interest in the professions and make firms more competitive."

Green jobs within the construction industry, which include those that involve more than 50 percent of work on projects that meet the LEED certification program standards, will also see a huge number of open positions, the report found. As more companies come to understand the benefits of green building, demand for such workers is expected to soar.

"Job creation and economic stability are crucial to supporting resilient and strong communities, and green buildings support the jobs of the future," said Roger Platt, senior vice president of global policy and law at the U.S. Green Building Council.

In Colorado, the construction industry is booming, but companies are scrambling to find enough skilled workers, according to Fox 31 Denver. Between February 2011 and February 2012, the Denver metro area added 6,300 new construction jobs - the highest amount in the U.S.