The State of the Construction Industry
If there's an industry that the public thinks of as a traditional one, it's construction. But as its employees are aware, it has undergone tremendous changes both at traditional worksites and behind the scenes. Many of its transformative changes have occurred within the last ten years. And what are some of its most noticeable?
WorkforceA decade ago, because of the Great Recession there was little employment for construction workers. Now some construction jobs aren't happening because there aren't enough qualified workers to work on them. Where did all of the qualified workers go? To other types of work, to construction jobs overseas, and into retirement. The federal government and institutions of higher learning have pledged promotional assistance to recruit and train a new generation of workers. Unfortunately the enthusiasm of potential new workers isn't matching the enthusiasm of would be recruiters. These means firms may have to offer more attractive hiring enticements in future in terms of pay and benefits. They may also have to recruit from less traditional employee pools as well such as women, minorities, and different ethnic groups.
The Application Revolution"App" is a new word to our vocabularies. But try having a conversation without it these days. The construction industry is not immune from this "app fever". App software is replacing conventional tools, time sheets, and with apps like Raken's, conventional daily reporting. The results are tasks that can be completed more quickly and accurately and allow for collaborative real-time data sharing.
Changes To What Is Being BuiltWhile earlier in the decade big box stores and temporary housing were all the rage, companies are cutting back on expanding. The fortunes of natural gas fracking and new pipelines are more uncertain, reducing the need for housing for workers. But residential house building continues to be strong in many parts of the country. This home building represents the industry's currently strongest sector. And not only do lots of homes continue to be built, they're being built in very non-traditional ways. There are now both moral and financial incentives to be "green" homeowners, and as a result they're looking for green, LEED certified contractors to provide them.
And while Congress waffles about infrastructure funding, many states now are taking the reins in their teeth in looking for funding to make this happen on their own. Firm owners should stay abreast of this, and be willing to work with public clients in addition to private ones if they aren't doing so already.