The good news is that Nashville construction is in resurgence as statistics for housing starts and commercial construction alike recover from the recession. The bad news? This recovery is accompanied by a shortage of qualified men and women to do the actual work. The latest building permit data shows that the jobs are there and more are coming. However, while project managers and other upper supervisory positions are readily filled, many companies are struggling to staff construction projects at the hammer-and-nail level.
Why Is Nashville Experiencing a Worker Shortage?
Several factors enter into this state of affairs. Many young people who might have sought work in construction in previous eras are instead being directed into college or more technical fields. At the same time, the pool of experienced carpenters and other construction professionals is shrinking as workers retire. The field is rapidly graying, as half the skilled construction workforce is now over the age of 45. In addition, during the period of slack work due to the recession, as many as two million workers left the field to launch other careers with no plans for returning.
The need for new blood in the industry is tempered by the concurrent requirement for an ever-higher level of skills and experience. This is especially true in the burgeoning home remodel/renovation industry where crews are frequently working in occupied structures in contact with the residents. Contractors are less able to provide onsite training in this environment, which requires workers with a high level of experience and professional skills from day one.
What’s Being Done
Builders and contractors in Nashville construction are stepping up advertising to maintain a high profile in the job market and let the public know they’re again receptive to job applicants. Trade organizations like the Associated General Contractors of America are also instituting programs to attract students to courses offered by magnet schools that focus on acquiring technical skills and other expertise applicable to the electrical, plumbing and carpentry trades.
ConstructionMonitor provides construction-related companies with location-specific building permit data to track the kind of industry growth that drives hiring, as well as an effective tool to target sales strategies and develop leads.
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