In a Construction Dive article published early this year, Dominic Thasarathar, a senior industry program manager for construction and natural resources at Autodesk is quoted saying:
“The overwhelming, number one issue is access to skilled labor.”
Despite Dodge Data & Analytics’ 2016 Construction Outlook report predicting 6% growth in new construction projects, many construction firms are struggling to staff appropriately. At the end of 2015, the Associated General Contractors of America released a survey indicating that 80% of construction businesses could not find the workers they need. Over half of those surveyed could not find skilled Project Managers, or fill other professional positions.
Nearly half of the surveyed companies increased baseline pay rates in an effort to draw the skilled professionals they need. They offered more bonuses and better benefits.
The construction industry is growing, but Robert Dietz, an economist with National Home Builders Association (NHBA), told Bloomberg News that the industry would be growing faster if the labor shortage weren’t such an issue. The NHBA surveyed its membership and found that 69% of projects were not filled on time due to labor shortages.
The reduced number of workers also impacts health and safety. In the Dodge report, 15% of companies had an increase in health and safety related injuries. Though 66% reported no change, OSHA plans a 78% increase in the cost of fines starting August 2016, so maintaining health and safety has never been so important.
While part of the labor shortage is due to the lack skilled workers in specific areas such as sheet metal, electricity, glass, plumbing, and many other construction trades, the industry also needs skilled managers to oversee this rapidly changing field.
Because companies use sub-contractors for needed tasks on projects, they are increasingly hiring people months in advance, locking in workers as a strategy of coping with the labor shortage. Overseeing a rotating crew and various schedules requires managers who can organize all the moving parts. Construction Managers need advanced communication skills to explain changes or delays, and to keep owners and workers satisfied. They find solutions to the problems a company faces during a labor shortage.
At New England Institute of Technology, students enrolled in the Master of Science in Construction Management Program have the opportunity to learn the technical and business skills Construction Managers need. The best managers seek opportunities for innovation, and New England Tech encourages students to become excited about the latest advances in management, construction theory and technologies that support the industry.
Learn more about how to build your career success with the MSCM from New England Tech.