Construction labor shortage solutions are getting tougher to come by. Answers are more complicated than they used to be. Baby boomers are retiring, and with them a lot of the skilled labor that construction relies upon. How can you find skilled resources today, and can you increase the number of skilled and unskilled laborers in the long run? There are a few ways:
1. Value Safety to Protect Current Workers
Safety is often discussed in terms of added cost. This is the wrong way to look at it. A lack of safety can add costs both seen and unseen. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that 51% of all fatal falls in the U.S. happen within the construction industry. Falls that injure someone can still mean you're down a worker. That doesn't even begin to account for the other safety concerns on a construction site.
A worker who's not physically capable of doing the job they used to can still be immensely valuable in another position. They still have their knowledge and relationships, after all. That still leaves a hole where you once had a skilled laborer. Prioritize OSHA training and compliance and you don't have to worry about losing the workers you already have to avoidable mistakes. It also results in an environment where your workers feel more valued and protected. The CDC also reports the construction industry has the second-highest suicide rate of any occupation. Protect and value the workers you do have.
2. Immigration Reform
Supporting immigration reform might sound like a strange route to construction labor shortage solutions. Millennials entered the job industry during a recession where they saw property values plummet and the construction industry's opportunities dry up for the better part of a decade. They're not avoiding the construction industry because they're soft or don't want to work – they're avoiding it because they saw the bottom fall out of it the minute they started looking for jobs. Gen Z saw their parents struggle with the same and are similarly wary. It's unlikely the construction labor shortage is solved by an influx from either generation. That could last well into Gen X starting to retire.
Immigrants work hard and often seek out labor opportunities because they might not be able to transfer a different professional skill or certification from another country. If Americans were champing at the bit for labor jobs, it might be another conversation. As is, the construction industry could use the fresh input of labor from any source. Putting all politics to the side, immigration reform that makes it easier and less expensive for immigrants to enter through the proper channels can be a major solution for the construction industry. That can keep the industry healthy in a way that supports existing American jobs as well as new American ones.
3. Work with a Temp Labor Agency
In the meantime, one of the most obvious solutions is still the best. Construction labor shortage solutions are best addressed by a skilled resources agency. These essentially act as gigantic human resources departments for the labor industry. They can draw from a diverse range of skilled and unskilled workers, increasing and decreasing your own labor staffing as you see fit.
Labor For Hire is one such agency. We work with countless businesses and have a reach that exceeds each of them. We can quickly find a wide selection of suitable, OSHA-trained workers, narrow down the best, interview them, and only send the top candidates your way. We can even handle the administrative side of onboarding for you. Contact us today.