6 Ways to Tackle the Skilled Labor Shortage

14 January 2020All, Constructionconstruction industry, labor shortages, skilled trades



Data collected year over year shows a continual decline in available skilled construction labor. The construction workforce shortage is one of the most significant threats to the growth and success of the industry as a whole. According to a recent article in the Autodesk BIM 360 Newsletter, a survey conducted by Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America showed that most construction companies are suffering from this trend. With some forecasts putting the global population at 10 billion by the year 2050 and 80% of construction firms challenged to fill skilled labor positions, it’s tough to imagine how enough buildings can be constructed worldwide to accommodate the population growth.

Because the skilled labor shortage is already impacting the financial success of construction companies, many are making investments in a variety of solutions to address the challenge. Those solutions range from training to technology to alternate business practices. Some steps companies are taking to address the labor shortage include:

Inhouse training

Programs and career building.  According to the BIM 360 Newsletter article, about half of today’s construction firms do not have an adequate pipeline for obtaining skilled workers. Inhouse training takes over where higher education leaves off, giving science, technology, engineering and math graduates the real-world experience they may need to bring maximum value to their employer. This can take the form of mentoring, when seasoned professionals team up with less experienced workers for essentially on-the-job training.

Using the student as the teacher

The majority of people entering the job market have more experience with digital technology than tenured employees these days, having been exposed to it from an early age. To them, technology “clicks,” so they have an intuitive edge for helping a company implement automation.

Investing in technology

to automate processes.  Properly implemented technology tools can save time, improve communication among teams, increase information sharing, reduce rework, and result in higher quality projects. Thus technology can help a company make the best use of its existing staff. Construction productivity software saves companies an average of five hours per week. According to FitSmallBusiness.com, adoption of building information software tools is on the rise and can streamline operations. Autodesk BIM 360 is an example, as it enables a teamwork approach to design, view, publish, coordinate, review, set up, build, manage, report, control, and close out a project.

Increasing pay rates and incentives

to keep and attract talent.  Although higher pay may sound like a no-brainer, the qualifier is that old adage that’s coming back around: Money isn’t everything. Although the trends don’t hold for all job seekers, companies are becoming creative with incentives. A September, 2018 article by Forbes, “What to Expect From The New Workforce,” says millennials and generation-Z workers value intangibles, such as personal success, stable jobs, diversity, positive work environments, time off, atmosphere, and variety.

Using cutting edge solutions

Technology driven construction not only makes sense from a competitive standpoint, it can become a selling point that distinguishes a firm as forward-thinking. The blog article, “Technology Driven . . . Reality Based” explains why.

Adopting alternate construction techniques

BIM, virtual reality and prefabrication are just a few of the ways that companies are tightening up processes and reaching for new ways to glean more productivity and efficiency from inhouse talent. The BIM 360 Newsletter article relates that nearly 60% of the country’s largest companies ($500+-million revenues) are adopting processes to reduce the time required to complete a job, but only 14% of the smallest firms are currently following suit. Since nearly two-thirds of construction businesses are small firms, when they begin to follow that lead, change for the better will follow.

Because the skilled labor force is expected to continue to decline for some time to come, company management needs to be innovative with solutions to address the situation. Check out the new BIM 360 Family Tree eBook to learn about one collection of collaborative tools. Whether it’s technology, unique training scenarios, employment incentives, or alternate techniques, each company needs an active plan for overcoming the skilled labor shortage. Buildings will continue to get built. The question is, will your firm be a part of the solution?

If you want to explore the steps your company can take to overcome the skilled construction labor shortage, contact Applied Software today for a quick discovery call. The experts at Applied can help you innovate, get empowered and change your industry.



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