A recent study by the Associated General Contractors of America found that 9 out of 10 construction firms were having a hard time finding a great job. Over half of these companies attempted to attract employees by raising their wages but still couldn’t find enough people.
What is going on here? Why are people flocking away from the construction fields, and which of these jobs are more vacant? This information can be a valuable thing to know for those who are struggling to find work. After all, you may find yourself needing a new job and turning to these career options. So, let’s take a look at what to expect here and how you can use this situation to your advantage.
Fields Struggling the Most
Craftsmen fields seem to be struggling the most within this field, with jobs like skilled carpenters (including residential roofers) not getting filled. Part of this problem is the COVID-19 pandemic causing more people to fear going back to work. However, another significant problem here is the fact that many people are just turning their back on the benefits of a construction career.
For example, roofers may find themselves working long hours on multiple buildings and getting less pay than they’d hoped. They may also find it difficult to justify the long hours common at their position when they know people working in offices who make more. Some might even be upset that fast food positions are raising their wages and leaving them in a rather tricky spot.
This situation has made it harder for asphalt company teams to fill their roles and has also caused a lack of sheet metal installers, concrete professionals, and much more. We’re talking specifically about entry-level positions here, of course. However, these positions form the backbone of the construction industry and are vital to keeping fully staffed as much as possible to avoid any complications.
That said, it isn’t just entry workers that roofing companies and others are struggling to staff. This pandemic of a labor shortage has spread far and wide and impacts many different stages of this field. Understanding this fact is crucial because you might find yourself in a situation where you might need to transition to a construction position if you lose a job and can’t find any others.
For example, many businesses (including precast concrete services) are having difficulty filling management roles and aren’t sure where to turn. That fact might seem surprising at first, but many within the construction field are turning elsewhere to get similar jobs. So let’s take a look at what is happening in this situation to make it easier to understand for your needs.
Management Rolls Remain Harder to Fill
What has surprised many within this field is just how hard it has been to keep salaried roles within this field. Whether you’re a construction scaffold professional or any other expert, a growing number of supervisors and managers are leaving their position, leading to a sharp decline in availability. Just how bad has this problem got? Around 69% of all Northeastern construction firms claim they can’t stay staffed.
What is going on here? Why are so many skilled professionals leaving the construction field and getting jobs in places like a furniture moving company? Of course, taking furniture from place to place is no simpler than construction jobs and maybe harder than many similar jobs. So let’s break down what might be happening here to get an idea of why people are changing their minds:
- A Shift to More Urban Centers: Cities keep getting bigger, and people are finding more potential positions in places they may not have anticipated. For example, roofing contractors may find themselves getting the chance to get a more straightforward job elsewhere. Even though cities need construction just as badly as farms or more rural areas, these professionals simply don’t want to do these jobs anymore.
- Aging-Out Positions: As the world changes, there are just some jobs that aren’t going to be in that high of demand anymore. For example, antenna install professionals may find themselves struggling to find any work, even if positions are open. This situation is troubling, but there isn’t much that can be done about it. Progress is progress, and it will go on no matter what we want to do to halt it.
- Lack of Respect for Construction: In the past, construction workers were celebrated as the builders of the nation, as the people who were literally creating a world around us all. Years of perception issues, including movies and television shows that downplay construction workers’ intelligence and integrity, have caused many people to stay away from these fields and try other jobs instead.
- Troubles With Construction Perception: People may think of construction jobs as low-quality work that doesn’t require any intelligence to complete. That idea couldn’t be farther from the truth, as construction jobs are very challenging. Even worse, people may not realize that building a fiberglass deck is not only a rewarding physical challenge but can provide you with a good salary at the same time.
- Shifting to More Internet-Based Jobs: It’s hard for many graduating teens to look happily at construction as a career anymore. As a result, more and more people are opting out of this path and trying to make it online. It doesn’t matter if you tell them that less than one percent of all “internet celebrities” have a living wage. They’d rather sit in their room and make videos than work in construction.
Perhaps that’s why around 86% of all construction companies report general shortages throughout the marketplace. Construction is not easy work, though it can be rewarding for the right person. As more and more people shift towards “easier” jobs, it might only become more difficult for construction companies to staff their positions. It might get to the point where only a few thousand people build all the nation’s construction.
This situation is kind of scary if you think about it in any depth. You might be unable to find a roofer as you age and find yourself struggling to take care of these steps yourself. Even worse, you might find companies with only a few employees that do a poor job simply because they don’t have enough people to help. While things aren’t quite that dire yet, it might not take long until they get there.
Can This Trend Reverse?
We’re honestly not sure if this trend can be reversed or not. There’s a lot of potential in the industry, but people just aren’t grabbing it as they did in the past. However, enterprising people who are willing to jump in and take a risk might find themselves thriving where others have failed.
In this way, we believe that people like you could turn this trend around and help make the construction world a better place. Before that happens, it is important to assess your situation and identify the unique options that might make the most sense for you as a person, including business ownership.
You Can Take Advantage Of This Situation
There’s no reason why you can’t jump into this situation and use it to your advantage if you’re intelligent and willing to work. Even if you’ve never done a day’s construction work in your life, you can typically find it easy to transition to a career in construction. With shortages at an all-time high, wages are increasing higher and higher. It’s not unusual to find jobs with $30-40/hr rates or higher.
Once you get into this field, you have a good in that you can use for promotion. For instance, you may find yourself working your way up to a management position. In fact, construction companies may just hire you for management if you have any higher education at all. They simply need people that badly and might end up throwing money and benefits at you to handle the ins and outs of this job.
That doesn’t mean you’ll be rolling in cash without having anything to do! There’s a misconception that construction is easy, and that’s just not the case. Even managers need to understand the complex science behind the building, including things like stresses, footings, and much more. These elements can quickly get out of control and cause serious troubles if you don’t properly plan them. You’ll need to learn some things.
You Might Get Educated
Here’s the kicker, though: you might find that many construction companies are basically willing to send you through school (even if just trade courses or two) to teach you this position. You can learn the proper science behind the construction, learn how to plan and chart out buildings, and work directly with your team to get the high-quality job that you want at the pay that you deserve for your hard work.
Of course, you’ll have to do the hard work of learning this information and how to apply it to a construction field. It isn’t as easy as you might think. You’ll have to learn the laws and guidelines created by your state for your specific construction field. These can change regularly, so you have to learn how to keep on top of them and know how to execute them within your plan.
Just as importantly, you have to learn how to get the trust of the people on your team. Your construction crew will respect your education but may be wary if you’ve never had hands-on experience before. Don’t alienate them by trying to bluff your way through your field. Ask for their opinions, use their advice, and praise them for it. Give them the proper attention, and they will reward you tenfold with better work.
Even if you have no interest in becoming a construction manager, getting a job as a hands-on construction professional may be a wise choice. Though you’ll work hard, you might find it very rewarding and learn to love your work. Just as importantly, there’s a good chance that you’ll get higher pay and that you can then use this experience to transition to a better situation.
Should You Open a Construction Firm?
If you want to make the most money in a construction position, you should try to open your own firm. However, you’re likely to run into the same situation as other firms: simply not enough people to fill your positions! This situation makes it hard for enterprising people to transition into this field, though there’s a chance you might do so if you find a good crew of skilled professionals.
For example, you may work with some people you met while getting educated for your new construction job and create a new company. You can make everyone part-owner and share in the profits. That kind of modern incentive is what some in the field may call millennial nonsense. However, building that kind of strong connection and responsibility may make everyone work harder.
Just as importantly, you can help reverse the negative perception around construction workers and make it positive again. Take the time to show everyone that construction workers are intelligent people with deep personalities and intensive skills, and you can potentially lure more people into your job. Highlight the high pay and the unique chance to buy into a company, and you could go far.
As you can see, this trend is troubling but is something that you can use to your advantage. You just need to be clever about this situation and willing to jump in where others are failing. Even if you’re not that excited about a construction career, it can be an advantageous option for you if you’re struggling to get on your feet. If you do the hard work and focus necessary to thrive in this position, you might even find yourself transitioning to management positions or even owning your own company!