No construction project can be completed without competent and skilled workers. The construction industry is always on the lookout for great workers seeking long-term employment. Unfortunately, there always seems to be a labor shortage.

Labor Shortage Affects Construction

The construction industry always has a need for skilled workers, and this is especially true during construction booms. Workers are needed to build residential homes, retail centers, commercial buildings, government facilities, and school buildings. The more construction the more valuable skilled workers are to the industry.

Estimates will vary, but labor statistics will show that upwards of 90 percent of all contractors in the United States experience a labor shortage. It’s tough in today’s world for hard-nosed skilled labor jobs to compete with technology jobs that offer air-conditioned offices with on-site brew pubs. But there are ways to attract workers into a long-term job environment where a person can work hard all day for an above-average paycheck and then hang out with fellow workers where they serve favorite beverages.

Labor Shortage Is A Generation Gap

A generation ago there was still a strong emphasis in high schools to teach and develop skilled trades. A generation before that one of the most common classes was “shop” where you could hammer nails, cut metal with a blow torch, and learn how to mix and pour concrete. Today the educational shift has moved away from the labor trades and emphasizes 2-year and 4-year academic degrees. As more construction workers age and then retire, new and younger workers are needed. The shortage grows larger with each passing generation.

Technology Helps Skilled Labor

The construction industry has almost been as hard-headed as a hard hart when it comes to adapting technology for a labor-intensive work force. As technology accelerates with or without the construction industry there are tools and job skills that fit well with construction. This can ultimately help lessen the gap between construction and its need for workers.

Elements of technology that have spurred the industry to change are speed, efficiency, and cost savings. All three of these, regardless of technology, have always been vital to success in construction. A new backhoe that digs deeper, faster, and uses less gas is equally important to a technology-skilled laborer who can operate a GPS mapping system efficiently and quickly. Shop class never taught these skills.

Gone are the days when construction sites depended on layers of paper plans and slide ruler. Today’s project plans are likely presented on computer tablets and can updates can be sent to anyone with a smartphone. A change in the construction code regarding the concrete mixture can be sent to the transport truck on the way to a job site and the mix adjusted and complete before anything is poured. And for that massive bulldozer with a computer operating system glitch, a technician can have it rebooted and driving smoothly with a few code updates.

Every aspect of a construction site or construction worker’s operating tools can be updated and advanced with the proper use of technology. Once the technology is defined then the construction industry can adapt it and search for the workers who will help the industry.

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