People ask us, what’s our biggest concern for this year in the construction industry? We tell them it’s the skilled labor shortage, especially in Kansas City. Many conversations with subcontractors tell the same thing; they cannot find or hire enough skilled workers in their field of work.
As we all know, a significant portion of employees who left the construction industry during the recession never returned. Companies are therefore struggling to find and hire skilled workers to keep up with demand. Now that the economy is seemingly on a comeback, the number of skilled workers have not kept up with the pace. Most experts predict this issue will continue throughout 2016 and beyond. They also believe it will take multiple years for this talent deficit to catch back up.
Per the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), rough carpentry subcontractors reported 27% shortages in June 2012. That number is now up to 58%. Also per NAHB via a 2015 survey, 69% of companies reported a shortage (either serious or some) of construction workers. Take a look at the graphs below.
NAHB states the most common effects of the labor shortages have been causing companies to pay higher wages and subcontractor bids forcing them to raise prices (61%). It is also making it difficult to complete projects on time.
So, what does this mean? Unfortunately, it may take longer to complete construction projects and possibly at higher construction costs, depending on labor shortage variables.
Here at Harmon however, we have not had an issue so-far with hiring or retaining our skilled carpenters. We currently employ several full-time skilled carpenters, all of which have been employed with us for a minimum of 5 years. We believe our company culture and competitive wages are an added incentive allowing us to retain and hire additional skilled labor.