The construction industry is in desperate need of workers. How will the passing of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending package into law affect the industry? The good news is, there is no bad news. According to forecasts, contractors will have to pay their onsite workers more.
The infrastructure package in a nutshell
A major goal of the infrastructure package is to create jobs that don’t require a college education, i.e. predominantly low-wage construction jobs. This will in turn will drive up wages. A total of $550 billion will be ploughed into roads, bridges and other forms of transit. Experts predict that the supply and demand issue will be worsened by this influx of infrastructure projects due to the passing of the package.
2 ways wages will rise
1. The bill will likely tighten the labor markets in which contractors operate.
2. There might be direct government wage mandates embedded in the bills.
The great resignation
The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed workers to rethink their careers, work conditions, and long-term goals thus contractors may have to get creative to secure labor. The Department of Labor estimates the industry will need to add 747,000 workers by 2026 and now the mean workforce age in construction has climbed into the 40s.
Employees have the power
A significant rise in employee wages is being predicted and this is the best position construction workers have been in since known history. The new bill requires the vast majority of construction projects to pay prevailing wages. It also includes stringent provisions that require all federal infrastructure projects to use construction materials largely manufactured in the U.S. This in turn will increase the number of other types of jobs.
Attractive careers in construction
The pandemic limited the number of migrant workers, worsening the situation. Some companies can secure financing and bonding, but struggle with the labor. The industry might have to reach out to the younger generation and let them know about the attractiveness of careers in the construction industry. The younger generation need to consider filling the high paying jobs that are in abundance.
Investment in the future
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced a $17 million investment to create the Workforce Scholarships for the Future pilot program. He also called for the state’s general assembly to approve an additional $124 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to extend the program through June 2024. Only 16.7% of Generation Z has expressed interest in construction as a career path. But between January and October, over 3,000 South Carolinians received training. It is estimated that 5,000 will be retrained and employed by the end of December.
The Industry is now looking to the future to ease the labour shortage. Opportunities are opening up for the Gen Z considering careers in Construction. The future has never looked brighter.
Kaufman Search & Consulting works with leading Contractors and top-level talent throughout the country, building teams for tomorrow’s projects one perfect fit at a time. We use extensive know-how and our solid relationships with key decision makers at our client companies to elevate your executive career in construction.