Even before the pandemic, the construction industry was facing a severe labor shortage, with nearly 300,000 job vacancies, according to BLS data. But new survey data shows that post-pandemic, the labor crunch may be worse than ever.
How bad? More than 50% of construction firms report being unable to fill craft positions and more than 80% report difficulty finding supervisors or project managers, according to a September 2020 workforce survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk. Over the next 12 months, the AGC survey shows that nearly 80% of firms hope to recall or add new employees. But other research shows just how challenging this will be: one in five construction workers are over the age of 55 and for every one new worker entering the field two are retiring.
Those statistics don’t reveal the bigger hurdle facing construction in the coming years — finding workers who know how to operate and optimize technology. In fact, 75% of contractors say unqualified staff and technology adaptations are factors that will most affect the industry over the next 3 years, according to the 2019 JBKnowledge ConTech Report.
For example, the JBKnowledge report notes that nearly 60% of companies state their workforce doesn’t have the skills needed to work BIM. And nearly 40% of firms say “lack of staff to support the technology” is a primary limiting factor to adopting new tech. “The most logical step to bridging the gap is education.