Solving the Skilled Labor Shortage in Construction

ThinkstockPhotos 669200520By Brian Binke             

The construction industry continues to experience a labor shortage within all areas of the market; yet companies are optimistic about that changing in the future because of actions that they’re taking now. What are they doing to improve the pipeline of skilled construction workers entering the market? And what more can be done to improve the pipeline going forward?

 

Allocating Funds

One suggestion would be for the government to take a portion of the money they dedicate to four-year colleges and put those funds towards getting more people enrolled in trade schools.  Everyone may not be cut out for college, but could excel at a skilled trade. So, the more effort and collaboration that’s made between government, businesses, and the education system the better. With more collaboration, we will see more success with students completing skilled trade programs in community colleges and trade schools.

The Case for Trade Schools

Attending a trade school is often a more economical choice than earning a four-year degree. In most cases, it takes less than half the time to complete a training program at a third of the cost. And when you get out you can start earning money right away.

Let’s face it, many of the old manufacturing jobs are not coming back. The days of a human being putting doors on cars all day in an assembly line are over. Robotic technology is completing that work and eliminating those jobs. However, skilled manufacturing jobs will continue to be in demand and skilled workers are needed to fill those positions.

Expanding Awareness

Another area of improvement is around general awareness of the demand for skilled labor in the construction industry. Companies have been getting more involved in this area, yet there is more room for improvement. Young people need to know that with a little bit of training they could have a career instead of a part-time job at a fast food restaurant.

Businesses need to get more involved on high school and middle school campuses to be a part of the conversation. They need to raise awareness for the demand for skilled construction workers to fill high-paying construction jobs with upward mobility. The market will improve as they step up their involvement at high school career days, job fairs, and on-campus events.

Thinking Outside of the Box

I would also suggest that companies get creative and think outside of the box. Some companies are making strides in this area by sponsoring scholarships to help students get through trade school or community college training programs, and they are guaranteeing a job with their company when they complete their training. This gives students the confidence and financial support they need to make the leap.

Businesses are optimistic about a change in tides with the labor shortage. The impact of what they can do will improve the market. Yet, they can’t let up the effort. The effort made now is what’s changing the future in construction.

Brian Binke is the founder and CEO of The Birmingham Group (TBG). TBG is a globally recognized executive search and consulting firm, specializing in the construction arena. Over the past 22 years, he has established himself as one of construction recruiting’s most respected leaders. He has won numerous awards for his industry innovation and was recognized as the No. 1 revenue producing manager for the largest recruitment network of More than 800 independent firms worldwide. You can reach him directly at bbinke@thebirmgroup.com

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