Everybody in and around the construction industry, from Tampa construction attorneys to contractors know a prevailing truth. The construction industry is booming. The demand for residential and commercial construction has been on the rise in recent years. Yet, there’s an additional truth that belies the industry’s dynamic growth. There aren’t enough skilled workers and day laborers to fill these positions. To say there’s a labor shortage is an understatement. A report from the National Association of Homebuilders estimates that 200,000 construction jobs remain unfilled in the United States.
It’s easy to pass this problem off as an industry problem, but consider this. When construction jobs go unfilled, it puts a stress on the remaining workers. This stress leads to either longer timeframes or a poorer quality of work. The former hurts contractors financially, the latter is a safety risk.
The question to ask is “how did we get to this point?” Drawing on many years of experience serving the construction industry, our Tampa construction lawyers point to two reasons why there’s a labor shortage in the construction industry and why young people aren’t considering it as a career option.
Mass Exodus from the Construction Industry During the 2008 Recession
The housing market crash led to a sharp decrease in the amount of workers in the construction industry. Many of them moved on to industries that were flourishing at the time. When the market recovered, they didn’t come back. This has left the industry with a dearth of skilled workers. Those that remain may be aging out over the next decade.
Thirty years ago, there was a greater emphasis on vocational education. While a college education was highly regarded, it was accepted that some young people would gravitate to “hands on” careers and achieve great success. Since then, there’s been a de-valuing of vocational education and careers. Young people are being pushed towards college, regardless of their interests. Vocational programs are being cut out of schools. Millennials, in large part, view the construction industry as gritty, low-paying work done by less educated people. It’s the job of all of us in this industry to show the opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship that exist in construction.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.