An industry-wide survey released by Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America shows 80% of construction firms report they are having difficulty filling hourly craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce, according to www.agc.org.
All four regions of the U.S. are experiencing similarly severe craft worker shortages, with 83% of contractors in the West and South reporting difficulty; 81% in the Midwest; and 75% in the Northeast.
Of the 2,000 survey respondents, 73% of firms report it will continue to be difficult, or get more difficult, to find hourly craft workers during the next 12 months. Contractors reportedly are skeptical of the quality of the pipeline for recruiting and preparing new craft personnel; 45% say the local pipeline for preparing well-trained and skilled workers is poor, and 26% say the pipeline for finding workers who can pass a drug test is poor.
Many firms are handling the labor shortage by boosting pay and compensation. Two-thirds of firms report they have increased base pay rates for craft workers, and 29% are providing incentives and bonuses to attract craft workers. Additionally, 46% report they have launched or expanded in-house training programs and half report getting involved in career-building programs.
“Construction workforce shortages are prompting many firms to innovate their way to greater productivity,” says Allison Scott, head of construction integrated marketing at Autodesk. “As the cost of labor continues to increase and firms look to become even more efficient, technology can enable better collaboration and ultimately lead to more predictable outcomes. There is also opportunity in untapped pools of talent, such as tradeswomen, veterans and young people looking for an alternative to the traditional four-year university.”
Scott notes 29% of firms report they are investing in technology to supplement worker duties. One-fourth of firms report they are using cutting-edge solutions, including drones, robots and 3-D printers, and 23% are relying on lean construction techniques, such as Building Information Modeling and more off-site prefabrication.
Forty-four percent of firms are increasing construction prices and 29% are including longer completion times in their bids because of the worker shortage.
AGC officials called on the federal government to boost funding for career and technical education; allow more immigrants to enter the U.S. to work in construction; let construction students at community and career colleges qualify for federal Pell Grants; and make it easier for firms to establish apprenticeship and other training programs.
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Original article source: NRCA
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