Here at Constructech, we have been watching the skilled labor shortage very closely, as the percentage of companies experiencing the shortage continues to rise and an influx of new programs develop.
The latest Commercial Construction Index shows that nearly 90% of contractors are reporting a skilled labor shortage in the United States. Conversely, in the United Kingdom, 38% of industry professionals recognize that squeezed access to labor is a concern.
We even see that PlanGrid—which was recently acquired by Autodesk—is taking steps to address the gap in construction. Earlier this year, it announced PlanGrid for Schools & Unions, which is a program to empower construction workers by giving schools and unions access to its software.
And, of course, this is only one example. Many technology providers are offering software licenses to schools in an attempt to help students become more savvy with systems.
Looking beyond this announcement, there are a couple natural solutions to fill in this gap that we have talked about here and on Constructech TV: greater government regulation and public policy, heightened adoption of technology in construction firms, and partner with local high school or colleges to encourage greater involvement in the trades a younger age.
But my questions are these: Is enough being done in these areas? Are there other areas that we need to be exploring to solve this shortage? Is it going to be enough to fuel the industry with what it needs to build more complex projects?
Paul Wellener, vice chairman, Deloitte, and the leader of the U.S. Industrial Products & Construction Practice, Deloitte Consulting, believes the answer is yes!—He says, there is, in fact, enough is being done.
Last week, at CES, he sat down with Peggy Smedley on a livestreaming broadcast of The Peggy Smedley Show to discuss the skills gap in the manufacturing industry—which correlates to what is happening in construction. In the interview, he suggests that we are going to see the skills gap get close with a greater investment in technology—and he believes we will continues to narrow and even fill the skills gap, if we take the right steps.
With this focus in mind, what steps is your construction company taking today? What is your plan for the next year? What do you believe needs to happen in the industry as a whole to help solve this challenge?
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