The Impact of the Skills Gap During a Labor Shortage


There are two main reasons for the shortage in construction labor. One is that experienced workers have been retiring or looking for work in other fields since the Great Recession. The other is that the number of workers attracted to the construction industry continues to decline. As a result, it continues to be increasingly hard to find skilled laborers. This has many adverse effects on the construction industry.

Discover three ways the skills gap continues to impact the labor shortage in the construction industry and how employers can find qualified workers.

Contractors Turn Down Work

The shortage of workers with construction experience impacts the number of jobs that go unfilled. This is one reason why contractors have to turn away work. Because many lack door and window installers or glazing professionals, the contractors cannot fulfill the job requirements.

Safety, Productivity, and Quality Decline

The lack of skilled construction workers increases the risk of accidents and injuries on job sites. This is because a significant number involve untrained workers with less than a year of experience in the field. The increasing number of inexperienced workers, including project managers and supervisors, also impacts productivity and construction quality. Having an inexperienced project manager can lead to ineffective management strategies early in a project, causing expensive delays and poor construction quality. This results in increased project costs and delays.

Employers Focus on Recruitment and Retention

Construction firms are providing more competitive pay and benefits to attract skilled laborers. This typically includes a retirement plan with company match and/or profit-sharing, educational support and reimbursement, paid time off, and performance bonuses. These benefits can result in stronger employee engagement and higher-quality work. Employers also are providing regular training programs to increase employee retention. This includes new employee orientation training and ongoing safety training such as OSHA 10-hour. Seeing that the company cares about employee health and wellness reduces the number of on-the-job accidents and injuries.

States Are Taking Action

Many states are working to reduce the gap for skilled construction workers. For instance, the workforce project RevUp Montana places high school students into short-term degrees, apprenticeship, and certification programs to gain the necessary skills for construction jobs. Also, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) is working to increase the number of women working in construction to attract a more diverse workforce. Additionally, IUPAT offers ongoing training in line with industry standards to maintain its workers’ construction skills and use of changing technology. Plus, the Painters and Allied Trades Labor Management Cooperation Initiative (LMCI) offers construction management courses and soft skills training to develop hard skills and emotional intelligence among workers.

Employers Turn to Staffing Firms

Work with CCS Construction Staffing to fill your construction staffing needs. Find out more today.

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