According to an industry-based survey released in the fall of 2018 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and Autodesk, 80% of construction firms are reporting that they are having a hard time filling hourly craft positions, which represent the bulk of the construction workforce, and 56% report having a hard time finding project managers, estimators, and other salaried positions.
Tight labor market conditions are prompting construction firms to change the way they operate, as well as the way they recruit and compensate workers. Sixty-two percent report increasing base pay rates for craft workers. Twenty-four percent have improved employee benefits, and 25% report providing incentives and bonuses to attract workers. Whether you are an open shop or union contractor, the labor shortage has likely had an impact on your projects, whether it be costing more due to rate increases, or longer completion times, or both.
As the demand for construction continues, and construction employment continues to go unfilled, the local state AGCs have put forth efforts to attract individuals to the construction industry. See what your state is doing by using the links to navigate directly to your state’s section.
What can contractors do to encourage workforce development innovations?
- Use applicant tracking and onboarding software to provide online job postings and applications
- Sponsor job and career fairs
- Host college internships
- Host externships for high school students, parents, and educators to tour facilities and gain hands-on experience with tools and equipment, while providing the opportunity to learn about apprenticeships
- Visit elementary, middle and high schools on career days
- Sponsor scholarships for individuals entering apprenticeship programs
- Hire through Federally-funded programs like Helmets to Hardhats, which incentivizes people finishing military service to embark on careers in construction
- Sponsor a Habitat for Humanity project with other trades, in coordination with Campus Chapters and Collegiate Challenges programs of Habitat for Humanity
It’s about raising the level of awareness. Average hourly earnings in construction exceed the average for all nonfarm private employees by more than ten percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unlike many other jobs, most construction careers do not require four-year college degrees, thereby putting individuals into the workforce sooner, with substantially less in student debt than their peers.
What can you do to get your firm out in front of the public eye? Are you doing what other contractors are doing, or are you going to blaze the path with new ideas?
If you would like to discuss specific considerations for your company, please contact us.
Indiana AGC has elected to invest in two programs by providing significant sponsorship funding and leadership:
Indiana Careers in Construction Association –
- Serves as a point of entry for more than 60 construction apprenticeship programs throughout Indiana.
- Markets education and career opportunities to guidance counselors, parents, and students via their Built to Succeed program. https://www.builttosucceed.org
- Maintains a Common App for students to complete applications to more than one apprenticeship program at a time and learn more about the construction trades.
- Features a strong social media presence.
- Includes a significant partnership with the Indiana High School Athletic Association.
Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation –
- Supported by the construction users in Indiana.
- Encourages high school students and adults to consider a career in construction. http://indiana.byf.org
- Strong focus on creating touch points with high school students through career fairs.
- Includes marketing materials distributed at employment fairs throughout the state.
In addition, Indiana is very focused on the return of Career and Technical Education (CTE) in schools. Governor Holcomb established the Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship in Indiana to focus on bringing more apprenticeship opportunities to industries throughout the state of Indiana.
Kentucky AGC’s efforts and initiatives include the following:
Work Ready Skills Initiative – a $100 million bond issue contained in the 2016-2018 budget – public funds coupled with private investment to provide for construction of facilities for technical education.
Kentucky Work Ready Scholarships – provides a scholarship to anyone seeking a certificate or two-year degree from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
ACE Mentoring for the Bluegrass/Louisville – nationwide mentoring program that introduces students to architecture, construction, and engineering through a host school.
Total Pipeline Management (TPM) pilot project with Kentucky Chamber’s Workforce Center – measures demand projections, analyzes where companies find talent, and seeks to strengthen, replicate, and expand or build a future pipeline for employers.
OSHA 10-hour training – available for all technical school students
Build-Kentucky.com – construction career website to inform students, teachers, parents, guidance counselors, etc. of the promising careers in construction and provide links and information on where students/parents can seek training for specific trades throughout the state.
Kentucky Construction Career Choice Council (K4C) Career Days – hosts a construction career fair at the Shelbyville Fairgrounds with over 70 hands-on exhibitors of trades, heavy equipment, and companies. Over 3,000 technical school students attend each year.
TRACK (Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky) Program – a youth pre-apprenticeship program to provide secondary students with career pathway opportunities into Registered Apprenticeship programs.
Kentucky AGC is also working with a private university and a Community and Technical School to offer trades training for construction. The association is also actively communicating with schools across the state, guidance counselors and other stakeholders on a regular basis.
Western Kentucky AGC efforts include the following:
- Hired part-time Workforce Development Coordinator to connect industry folks to education folks (at K-12, Community College, University levels).
- Supports seven regional high school tech centers that offer welding, electricity, carpentry, machine tool and auto tech/auto body programs to provide free 10 hour OSHA training, shadowing and construction site visit opportunities, scholarships, etc. This creates a pipeline from students to employers.
- Annual Construction Career Day Event for junior and senior tech center students from 19 tech schools associated with 25 school systems. This brings together an average of 1,600 students with 30 industry vendors (labor apprenticeship programs, contractors, two-year post-secondary tech programs, university and community college exhibitors). This connects students and tech center instructors to professionals and opportunities in the field.
- Initiated a “Tech Center Student of the Week” promotion in the regional newspaper (Paducah Sun) to highlight top tech center high school students and their schools on a weekly basis, culminating with an end-of-year banquet in which top students from each school are brought together, and one overall “Tech Center Student of the Year” is selected.
- Participation in career day, mock interviews etc. at the K-12 grade levels.
- They are also looking to be part of developing local pre-apprenticeship training such as plumbing/electrical for those already employed by local contractors.
Ohio AGC has created a website for I Build America – Ohio (IBAOhio) (https://www.ibuildamerica-ohio.com) to promote careers in construction. IBAOhio is a movement to generate pride and respect for the construction industry and to recruit young people into the industry as a rewarding and valuable career. The website provides resources for students, educators, employers, and influencers with available education pathways, salary information, and facts about all careers in the construction industry.
Ohio AGC also works with The Ohio Department of Education/Career Tech, Ohio Means Jobs and Apprenticeship Council on promoting construction careers and policies supporting it.