A skilled labor crisis in the construction industry is dependent on a new generation of workers to take over where help is needed, says Construction Dive, but poor sentiments regarding pay and job flexibility are driving a wedge between contractors and the potential tradesmen they’re trying to recruit. With growing concerns among incoming employees over industry-wide economic stability, company leaders are catering to a younger influx of workers and trying to change the narrative about construction.
Construction employment carries with it a perception that the work does not pay well or is more likely to be affected by an economic downturn than other fields.
These fears are not entirely unfounded, said Priya Kapila, compensation practice leader at FMI Corp., a consulting and investment banking firm that works with clients in construction, engineering and similar sectors. Historically, contractors sought to control costs in part by leaning on lower base salaries, particularly for entry-level positions, and making up for it with bonuses, she said.
Layoffs that occurred in tandem with downturns such as the mid-2000s recession further the narrative. "There's an inherent challenge of business cycles," Kapila said. "Even today, we've seen people exit the industry who are less inclined to come back."