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Driving Forces of a Skilled Labor Shortage—and How to Overcome Them

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Labor + Trade Relations

Driving Forces of a Skilled Labor Shortage—and How to Overcome Them

The construction industry has battled a skilled labor shortage for over a decade, but pandemic-related challenges made recruiting new workers harder than ever before

August 22, 2022
Shadows of construction workers against sunset on job site
Image: Stock.adobe.com

A major labor shortage is rippling through the construction industry and creating new obstacles for companies building back from the pandemic. As more veteran laborers retire, new employees are entering the workforce much later in life. Rather than joining the construction industry fresh out of high school, newly recruited tradespeople average 25 to 30 years old, and that underrepresentation of younger generations is only making it more difficult for employers to recruit workers in those age groups, Forbes reports.

Also at the core of a growing labor shortage is an affordability crisis which was exacerbated by the pandemic. Over the past two years, outstanding equity reached $27 trillion total, and record home values also equate to record spending for home improvements. Not all homeowners are quick to shovel out exorbitant funds for home services, and that waning demand is leaving laborers with fewer projects post-pandemic.

“People typically spend about 2% of home equity on improvement,” said [Mischa] Fisher, which is he forecasts to reach a whopping $475 billion this year. “This is largely concentrated in home improvement, not in maintenance and emergency repair. So, in terms of companies attracting labor to complete that work, they will be competing with multiple sectors and need to think about where they are pulling from.”

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