Will Skilled Labor Be in Worse Shape in 2 Years? Here’s What Pros Think

Construction professionals answered a survey to give their thoughts on the future of skilled labor in the industry. Here are the results.

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Nearly 75 percent of construction industry professionals in the United States acknowledge a shortage of skilled labor in their industry. Current conditions are unsettled, and the unknown long-term impact of COVID-19 makes the situation even murkier.

In a survey conducted late this spring, the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) asked construction pros whether they thought the skilled labor shortage would be better, worse or the same in two years, and why. Here’s a quick breakdown of the responses, and some of the reasoning behind the divide in optimism and pessimism.

The Overall Skilled Labor Situation Will Be Better

Thirty-six percent of pros believe the skilled labor crisis will ease in two years, a significant bump from the 16 percent who answered the same in a 2019 HIRI survey. Their optimism is based mainly on how the industry is trending. In another segment of the survey, more than 30 percent reported their company is involved in community and high school outreach programs to attract young people to the trades. If those efforts are successful, skilled labor could see the boost it needs.

The Overall Skilled Labor Situation Will Be the Same

The percentage of surveyed pros who said that skilled labor in the industry would be largely in the same place in two years was also 36 percent, down from 55 percent the year before. While there was some consensus that things are trending in the right direction, this group was also influenced by a perceived lack of interest in the construction industry as a career path. The “coronavirus crisis” was also listed as a reason the skilled labor shortage would remain stagnant by 2022.

The Overall Skilled Labor Situation Will Be Worse

Twenty-eight percent believe skilled labor will be worse off in two years, a tick below the 2019 survey results (29 percent). Nearly half attributed it to a lack of interest in skilled labor construction jobs. Some came right out and said “people are lazy,” while others cited the impact of COVID-19

Want to know more? Check out this summary of the HIRI 2020 Survey on the construction industry labor shortage.

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