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That Worker Shortage

RR031419 constructionMarch 14, 2019 – The aggregates and construction industry workforces run parallel, so no surprise that the results from the first-quarter 2019 USG Corp. + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index indicate that labor shortages continue to pose major challenges. This is causing firms to ask skilled workers to do more work (81 percent), struggle to meet deadlines (70 percent), increase costs for new work (63 percent), and reject new projects (40 percent).

As the industry fights to solve the labor shortage, the latest survey suggests a contributing factor could be negative perceptions of construction careers by young workers, leading to fewer workers seeking to enter the industry.

When asked about the biggest myths about working in the commercial building industry, contractors cited the perception that construction jobs are all "dirty" jobs (61 percent), construction work requires only brute strength (55 percent) and construction is just a "job" rather than a career (52 percent). Yet, contractors note good pay, opportunities for advancement, and the ability to learn new skills on the job as the best reasons to pursue a career in construction.

"It is important for construction leaders to consider how we can shift the perception of the industry and increase the number of young workers who want to work in the trades," said Jennifer Scanlon, president and CEO of USG Corp. "Retention will be particularly important to meet infrastructure demands, as well as a continued focus on innovative processes and technology on the jobsite."