A lack of skilled workers is nothing new to the construction industry. Trade organizations, hiring managers, and small businesses have been complaining that the trades just aren’t attracting young adults anymore, and the current workforce is aging out.
But that labor shortage became even more apparent during the pandemic. With fewer people willing to risk going to work combined with a boom in residential construction, the labor shortage continued to grow. How severe is the issue, and how can it get better? These are the questions the industry should be asking.
While the construction industry faced labor shortages in the past (think back to the housing boom of the 2000s), the one it’s facing now is a serious challenge. Estimates show that to keep up with current demand, the US construction industry would have to add 650,000 skilled workers to its ranks. If projections are correct, the current trajectory will require 2.2 million new workers within the next three years just to meet current housing needs.
The Canadian outlook is actually worse. Numbers in Canada require hiring an additional 80,000 workers. Considering population numbers, this is a higher percentage than the issue seen in the US.
What’s causing it?