Industry jobs are increasing! Financial lenders are making it easier to take on new projects! The rate of fatal accidents within the industry is dropping! But while the industry's sailing is smoother than it has been in recent years, entirely calm water hasn't been entered yet. So what are some construction industry challenges experts are seeing ahead for construction firms?
Skilled LaborWhere did all of the veteran skilled construction workers go? During the Great Recession and its immediate aftermath, many of them found employment in new lines of work. Many of them retired. And many of them took those skills and talents overseas, where they're still working. And where are all those young workers who should be replacing them? They never went into the field at all, having been warned by those laid-off veteran construction workers that construction was a terrible field to go into. Vocational high schools, colleges, and to a limited extent, the Federal government are trying to overcome this mind set and attract new workers. But industry analysts are predicting a shortage of skilled workers for years to come.
Loss Of "Sure Thing" WorkFederal government construction projects are on the decline, especially in the areas of infrastructure and ports. A new cottage industry had sprung up in building temporary housing for natural gas workers in some parts of the country. But as Cheap Oil becomes more and more entrenched and gas prices remain at historic lows, natural gas companies are calling off construction projects.
It's Still The EconomyThe recovery hasn't come for everyone, so to save money, homeowners are taking those DIY shows, or their cousin's friend with a toolkit, to heart. General contractors are seeing real competition from these do it yourselfers and unlicensed contractors, and both their pocketbooks and reputations are being damaged.
Untraditional WorkersThis certainly isn't a bad thing, unless of course you're a firm that communicates only in English with workers who can't, or refuses to acknowledge the unique physical needs of female ones. These are definitely not insurmountable challenges, but firms need to make an increased effort on their end to offer more bilingual signage, hire more bilingual foreman and managers, and adjust gear and equipment to fit the needs of less stereotypically sized workers.
MoneyThese fewer skilled workers, traditional or not, are going to be working longer hours and expecting bigger paychecks, eating into firm profits.