Are you feeling the vacuum effect of labor shortage in the construction industry? You aren’t imagining it, and you’re not alone. This year, 93% of construction firms report they have open positions they’re trying to fill, and 91% of those firms are struggling to fill them, according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
It’s more widespread than the year before. Firms are having trouble filling nearly all craft positions, with 70% reporting difficulty. Pipelayers, concrete workers and mechanics top the list of most difficult-to-find trades. Finding people—and finding the right people—continues to be a top struggle for construction companies.
Meanwhile, the market shows no signs of stopping. In fact, it’s speeding up.
In August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported:
With no fix in sight, construction companies need to embrace technology solutions to bridge the gap—or risk losing business.
What’s causing the labor shortage?
The labor shortage in the construction industry isn’t new, but it has gotten worse in recent years. There are a few large factors.
How does this affect your construction firm?
While the impact is hitting the entire construction industry hard, there are three key areas that have become a high priority for general managers: filling specialized roles, avoiding project delays, and contractor retention.
One of the biggest struggles? Putting the puzzle together when you’re missing a few pieces. Marcel Broekmaat, CPO at Assignar, noted that when working on projects that require special certifications, such as in high traffic downtown areas or with larger equipment like cranes, it can be hard to recruit the right contractors when they are in such high demand.
“Predicting and planning for when you’ll need specific skills or certifications is a challenge,” he said.
Having the people with the right skills available right when you need them is difficult when your trades are stretched thin.
Even projects with longer lead times face similar issues. When you don’t have complete visibility into what roles and skills you need, you can’t plan ahead by hiring or training your employees. You won’t know you’re missing a skill until the project is right on top of you. Maybe you have certified excavators ready to go, but you didn’t know they were missing the certification to operate on your downtown project; or your one Caterpillar operator is stuck on another job that’s run over, and now your entire project is on hold until they’re done. This quickly leads to project delays—another labor shortage issue.
Labor shortages lead to scheduling problems, which means your project timelines will take a hit. According to AGC, 66% of firms reported project delays in the last year as a direct result of the current labor shortage.
Since workers are in high demand, it’s no surprise that wages are going up and retention is going down. Between December 2019 and December 2021, wages grew 7.9%, reported Bisnow. It’s tempting to jump ship in favor of higher rates, better benefits, or more flexibility.
How tech helps bridge the labor gap
Since it’s clear that the labor shortage has no immediate solution, the construction industry has to look for other ways to meet demands. New problems need new technologies to help you solve them.
We’re not talking about technology no one asked for that just adds to your team’s workload. We’re talking about software that fits your process and doesn’t try to change it; operational software makes your life easier and allows you to build more.
Here’s how technology helps you fill the labor gap.
There’s no waiting out the labor shortage
As tempting as it is to manage the coming years by doubling down on your hiring efforts, it won’t be enough to get you through.The labor shortage in the construction industry is a long-term problem—and Assignar is your quick win. Assignar fits your operations and doesn’t ask you to fit ours. You won’t have to change your processes or require new roles; instead, put Assignar in the hands of your existing people, using technology they already use, and you can make what you’re already doing faster and easier. During times like these, new tools are worth a shot.
See how Assignar can help. Get a demo >