Labor Shortage, Tall Task

The labor shortage facing contractors has been a key industry risk in recent years. On August 29, 2018, Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) released their findings of a survey taken by over 2,500 constructions firms nationwide. The survey asked 18 different questions relating to various matters, including employment and labor shortage issues. A few key takeaways:

  • 80% of respondents noted difficulties in hiring craft labor (83% of PA respondents).
  • Of 20 different craft labor types listed, both national and PA respondents noted 19 of 20 positions were more difficult to hire than one year prior.
  • Craft laborers within respondents’ local pipelines rated 85% of individuals at poorly or fairly trained (65% by PA).

Contractors have taken differing approaches to remedy labor shortages, with 62% of survey respondents increasing base pay rates for skilled laborers. These additional costs resulted in 47% of survey respondents having to put higher-priced bids out, directly attributable to increased labor costs. Some firms are providing in-house training to increase job site efficiencies with their existing workforce, while other firms are investing in labor-saving equipment and technology to reduce the need for laborers in the future.

Brian Turmail, Senior Executive Director of Public Affairs at AGC, responded to this survey, saying, “We think the project site 10 years from now will look very different than it does today.” 

What steps has your firm taken to combat skilled labor shortages?

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