A new report from the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate points to continued growth in construction jobs this year, as well as continued concern about construction firms’ ability to find qualified job candidates.
In a wide ranging survey, the report, titled Contractors Remain Confident About Demand, Worried About Labor Supply: The 2019 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Report, the organizations report findings from 14 construction categories from Public Building to Higher Education, Water and Sewer Infrastructure to Multifamily Residential. The “Outlook” is based on data from over 1,300 firms of varying sizes from across the nation and consists of responses to 20 questions about hiring, business, and tech plans for the coming year. And, for the most part, the results are promising for the industry and anyone looking for a new job in construction this year.
“Construction executives appear to remain confident about their market prospects for 2019 and plan to add headcount to cope with the added workload,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of Associated General Contractors. “Even as they are optimistic about growing demand, contractors are concerned about finding qualified workers to execute projects.”
Here are some highlights from the report:
- The majority of construction firms in all categories expect the volume of business in dollar to be the same or higher in 2019 than last year. Firms that specialize in highway construction, K-12 schools, and hospitals are the most optimistic. Multifamily residential construction was the most cautious in their forecast for 2019.
- 77% of construction firms expect to grow headcount this year. 43% plan to add 1-10 positions; 16% plan to add between 11 and 25 new jobs; and 19% of respondents said they will add more than 25 employees to their headcount.
- Despite having increased pay, benefits, or both, to help fill position in 2018, 78% of construction firms report that they are currently “having a hard time filling some or all positions.” 26% believe it will only become more challenging to find new hires this year.
- The majority of firms surveyed report that labor shortages are their greatest challenge and have resulted in higher costs and longer build times for their projects. Moreover, an inexperienced staff is the greatest safety concern of many construction firms.
- Of all the firms surveyed, only 1%-2% report that they will decrease investment in tech in 2019. Instead many plan to spend more, particularly on project management software, document management software, and estimating software, and the report shows more and more firms implementing mobile applications for day-to-day project management.
- The greatest tech challenges of the construction firms surveyed include “Time needed to implement and train on new technology,” “Employee resistance to technology, and “Communication between field and office.”
If you are interested in reading the survey result for yourself, click here. If this was enough for you, know that now is a time to feel positive about the potential for employment in the construction industry, for at least the near-future. It seems that if you are a skilled and experienced tradesperson, you will be in demand this year. If you’ve considered entering the trades, now would be a good time to get some training and get your resume out. Or, if you are a tech professional looking for a new job, you could consider the construction industry in your search.
Note: If you operate a construction firm and would like to share your experience with hiring, training, and the potential for tradespeople, we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.