We emphasize technology and investing in it for better project management. But we need humans to build homes and commercial properties. Construction workers’ median age is 41, based on 2019 survey data. That’s a contributing factor to the current construction workers shortage.
Construction Workers Declined During Office-Jobs Push
For many years, it was a cultural thing in our country to steer our kids toward the college path. Despite the earnings potential of working in the trades (to say nothing of the burdensome student loans), young people were encouraged to avoid construction work. The career track leading to construction was almost completely devalued.
The fairly recent cultural concept that manual labor is not a good job is an important contributor to what will soon be an aging-out-of-the-workforce situation. Construction workers must be physically healthy to do the work, and the statistics support the claim that we need to recruit younger workers.
In addition to 41 being the median age of construction workers:
- First-line supervisors’ median age is 46.
- Midwestern construction workers average under 38 years of age.
- Supervisor helpers had the youngest median age; 30.
- U.S. East Coast construction workers tend to be the oldest.
The AGC (Associated General Contractors of America) is spearheading recruiting drives and also asking President Biden to discontinue unemployment pandemic supplements for construction workers. While half our states agreed the unemployment program is disincentivizing U.S. workers, several states restored the unemployment benefits.
Construction Is Essential
AGC’s “Construction is Essential” program focuses on attracting, training, and retaining construction workers. They are seeking federal funding for career and technical education programs as well as partnering with community colleges and technical schools.
The push to recruit is timely because we need our 40-something workers to share skills and information with new-hires. “You need to fill [those positions] while some of the folks are still there so that they can help transfer what they know to the next generation of workers,” said Brian Turmail, AGC’s vice president of public affairs & strategic initiatives at the Associated General Contractors of America.
You Can Be Your Community’s Construction Authority
You can coordinate recruiting and public speaking events to share the need for construction workers now. You can also write your own blogs and newspaper articles. Information-sharing is a way to building your company’s brand and also finding employees during a workforce shortage.