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Why Hiring is So Hard for Construction Contractors in 2019

Why Hiring is So Hard for Construction Contractors in 2019

Construction & Real Estate

Hiring and retaining quality construction employees is getting harder. In fact, of the 150+ contractors who took the 2019 Maryland Construction Industry Survey, not one respondent said it would be easier to hire employees in 2019 compared to 2018.

In the survey, contractors said finding and retaining qualified employees is their #1 concern for 2019. This has been an ongoing trend for several years. In 2017, 62% of contractors said hiring was one of their top concerns, but that percentage jumped to 83% in 2019.

Maryland construction contractors top concerns for 2019

Concerns over hiring and retaining qualified
construction employees has been on the rise since 2017.

Why Is Hiring Getting So Hard?

New faces aren’t so common around job sites anymore. As Baby Boomers retire, the decrease in young employees entering the industry is only becoming more apparent. The problem is fewer young people are pursuing careers in construction. In fact, the number of young construction workers entering the industry has decreased by almost a third between 2005 and 2016.

This could be explained by the increasing push for students to attend college. Trade schools, on the other hand, are often presented as backup plans for college. This steers young people away from careers as contractors, electricians, plumbers, welders, etc. and has bankrupted the pool of young talent entering the industry.

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Respondents in our 2019 Maryland Construction Industry Survey echoed this reality. We asked contractors what they saw as being the biggest change in the construction industry in the next ten years. Here’s what some contractors said:

  • “Workforce is getting older. The younger generation does not want to work in construction. Labor costs will continue to increase.”
  • “The lack of qualified workers in all areas of construction. Schools are pushing everyone into college. Young people do not want to go into construction. At this pace we are headed for a very severe manpower shortage.”
  • “No younger people coming into the trade.”

How Do We Fix This?

One fix that construction contractors can implement right now is improving their business’s culture. Business culture is the behaviors and values of a business, which encompass things like:

  • How the leadership team acts
  • How employees get treated
  • What perks you offer
  • The overall personality of your team

While a good salary and benefits package is necessary to recruit quality staff, culture is what makes employees happy to come to work every day. As the number of young people in the industry decreases, contractors are going to have to be more competitive than ever when it comes to hiring. That means focusing on culture as well as building an environment where construction employees want to work.

Get More Insights Like This

Join us on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at Waverly Woods Golf Club as Steve Ball, CPA, CVA, CCIFP, takes a look at the state of Maryland’s construction industry based on data gathered in the 2019 Maryland Construction Industry Survey. You can learn more and register for this event here.

Need Help?

Contact us online or call 800.899.4623.

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Published on April 10, 2019