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The Aging Construction Industry

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The construction industry’s ongoing battles with a seemingly endless labor shortage is starting to take a more significant toll thanks in part to a rising median age for construction professionals nationwide. When you compare the average age of construction professionals with other occupations in the United States, it becomes apparent that the construction industry is starting to show its age. Contractors need to be cognizant of the best practices for handling older workers. Failing to support these workers and ensure their safety could result in a severe workplace injury, which may require the assistance of a West Palm construction lawyer.

The Rising Age of Construction Professionals

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the United States construction industry employs more workers ages 45 to 54 than 25 to 34. There are several construction-related professions with median ages significantly higher than the national median for other occupations. Consider these statistics:

  • The number of National Association of House Builders (NAHB) members over the age of 55 has increased from 38 percent to 57 percent over the last decade.  
  • The average age of a member of NAHB is 57.
  • 6 percent of workers in builder-related professions are 65 years and over compared to only 3 percent in other occupations.
  • 17 percent of workers in builder-related professions are between the ages of 55 and 64.
  • 44 percent of workers in builder-related professions are over the age of 45.

Contributing Factors

The aging construction industry is a byproduct of stifled innovation, a lack of interest from members of Generation X and Y, and a renewed focus on higher education, but it doesn’t stop there. Young people entering the workforce are often unaware that entering the construction industry is an option. Schools teach high school students that once they graduate they should go to college; however, a lucrative career in construction is achievable for any able-bodied person with a strong work ethic and a desire to learn in the field. With hundreds of thousands of unoccupied construction jobs in the United States, the construction industry needs to dedicate itself to providing widespread education on career opportunities.

Health and Safety Issues for Aging Workers

Although the health and wellness of workers is always a top concern, it’s an even more pressing issue when dealing with an older workforce that succumbs to fatigue and stress more easily. This results in rising costs for contractors as they must be patient with the physical ailments of their workers. If younger workers don’t enter the construction industry, firms will be forced to turn to automation and robotics to maintain profitability.

If you would like to speak with a West Palm construction attorney, please contact us today.

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.