The construction industry is one of the foundations of the nation’s economy, accounting for an astounding $1.8 trillion annually in goods and services. And the mounting need for large infrastructure projects, particularly with the adoption of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, plus residential units and campus and university opportunities will no doubt continue driving growth in the coming years.

True, the industry is healthy, but there are workforce challenges on the horizon that may well slow growth. What follows is a listing of the top workforce challenges contactors need be aware of the remainder of 2024 and beyond.

Shortage of Skilled Workers Continues to Plague the Industry

Okay, before going any further, what exactly do we mean by a skilled worker?

The term “skilled worker” can have various meanings in construction. Normally, it indicates they have specific abilities, experience and training that distinguishes them from their counterparts. Welders, carpenters, plumbers and heavy equipment operators are but a few of the many jobs that can be referred to as skilled construction workers.


Let’s face it, the shortage is real.

In 2023, the construction industry grappled with a substantial labor shortage due to several factors including a mature workforce, lingering effects from the pandemic, competition from other industries and a growing need for skilled labor to adjust to the improvements in technology. Associated Builders and Contractors approximated that the construction labor shortage exceeded over half a million workers in the first quarter of 2023 and these shortages have hung around into the early part of 2024. The same investigation also estimates that the industry will need to hire around 324,000 extra workers on top of the typical hiring numbers to just meet requirements throughout the year.


Yes, there are a lot more jobs than workers, but many of those workers simply aren’t qualified. Year-round construction companies have had to cope with the two-fold challenge of not only hiring workers but finding candidates who meet the requirements to work in construction.


This lack of skilled workers is due in no small part to the number of Baby Boomers who are retiring.


Consistent with the U.S. Census, all those who fall into the grouping of Baby Boomers will be retired by 2030. This concern lies in the fact that this age group makes up a considerable proportion of workers in the construction industry. Between 2003 and 2020, the sum of workers 55 and older in construction nearly doubled from 11.5 percent to 22.7 percent, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).


So, the worry is that as these labor shortages linger, a construction firm might have to resort to employing a larger number of new or inexperienced employees. The issue is without the proper safety education and skills training, these workers may very well add to the number of both jobsite accident and injury rates. Combined with impacting employee health and wellbeing unfavorably, these events can also boost the number of insurance claims.


Let’s take a brief look at some of the other workforce construction challenges for 2024.


A Demand for Higher Pay

A boost in demand for workers involves contractors having to continue to pay even more to effectively recruit talent away from the competition. But construction workers just aren’t simply taking advantage of potential employers. They, like the rest of the nation’s workers, need to pay for surges in day-to-day expenses. According to the BLS, the largest increases have been in the basics: shelter, food and medical care. Should these costs continue to rise, workers will either demand a higher wage to cover them or look at competitors in the construction industry or elsewhere who are willing to pay more.


Competition with Other Industries

Speaking of competitors, construction isn’t the only industry that’s experiencing worker shortage. Just drive down the street and see how many companies in both industry and retail have “Help Wanted” signs hanging outside.


In 2022, more than 50 million workers quit their jobs looking for better work/life flexibility, higher pay and a robust company culture. And while the construction industry is reeling from a lack of workers, it’s not alone. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, labor shortages are affecting a number of industries that are experiencing vacant job openings, including leisure and manufacturing.


With these other markets also coping with shortages, contractors will have to work even harder to recruit workers.


The Need to Persuade Young People to the Industry

One of the other obstacles to surmount in finding skilled workers is that there are fewer young people entering construction. According to the BLS, 60 percent of 2022 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges and universities. The focus on pursuing higher education over a particular trade has gradually swelled over the past 40 years. In 1969, there were 8 million students enrolled in postsecondary institutions and in 2019, nearly 20 million.


Recruiting young talent will be vital to recruitment in 2024 and beyond. Says one industry spokesperson, “Firms have to expand their talent pool and it’s important to think about how you can attract younger people from all different backgrounds and locations. There has never been a better time to be in the construction industry because there is a huge push in the industry to have good culture with a focus on safety, technology and wellness.”



Okay, How Can Your Company Attract the Best Construction Talent?

With only so many skilled workers to go around, your company must make its case for being the best opportunity. Here are some of the best ways you can do that, so you can secure the top construction talent currently out there.


A streamlined hiring process: If your hiring process is slow and jam-packed with late responses to potential candidates, you can bet your competition is taking maximum advantage of this. Let’s face it, lengthy and cumbersome application processes can deter qualified candidates. Since skilled workers are in such high demand, they probably have numerous opportunities available to them as they search for a new job. Having a streamlined and efficient hiring process that is user-friendly for applicants can help you secure essential workers before someone else comes along and scoops them up. After all, a streamlined process demonstrates respect for the candidates’ time and enhances the overall candidate experience.


Lest we forget, as a part of this process, you should also clearly define the role and specify the required skills and experience.


Invest in training and development opportunities: Employers can offer learning and development opportunities to both long-term and new employees to address the impending skill gaps left behind by retired workers. After all, the construction industry demands workers to have specific skills. Learning opportunities may be one sure way to recruit young employees and help them build a career in construction.


Importantly, this training must be ongoing. With the industry’s continuous progress, keeping the team apprised of the latest technologies and processes is vital. Conduct regular training sessions, e.g., monthly, quarterly, or during major industry changes, to benefit your projects and foster your employees’ career growth.


Such training could include onboard training that acquaints new hires with your company culture, safety practices and job duties. This early phase is essential for positioning new employees for success and shows your commitment to both their safety and professional development.


One more thing you might want to take into consideration – help your employees achieve additional certification by offering resources, study time and/or financial aid. Such backing frequently leads to a workforce that’s not only more skilled, but engaged and loyal to the company.


Create apprenticeship programs: Initiating apprenticeship programs within your company can be a fantastic means to not only advance your existing workers’ skills but help you discover new talent. These programs join on-the-job training with classroom learning, delivering apprentices with a broad skill set. Apprentices work underneath proficient advisors, gaining practical know-how on a variety of tasks and projects. Importantly, many such apprenticeships result in full-time employees.


Competitive compensation and benefits: One of the more critical factors in enticing skilled construction workers is offering competitive compensation and benefits packages. Skilled workers have a range of job opportunities available to them so it’s important for companies to offer fair wages that reflect the value of their skills and experience. In addition to competitive wages, companies also need to provide comprehensive benefits packages that include health insurance, retirement plans and other such perks. These benefits not only provide financial security for workers but also exhibit the company’s commitment to their well-being.


Moreover, companies can go beyond the basics and offer performance-based bonuses and incentives. These can be tied to personal or team objectives, inspiring workers to go all-out for excellence and compensating them for their hard work at the same time.


By offering appealing compensation and benefits plus these added incentives, companies can position themselves as employers of choice in the construction industry.


Appeal to those who have left the industry: Through the use of various incentives, you might attempt to bring back employees who only just left the industry, for example, by offering flexible employment arrangements or career advancement opportunities.


Flexible work arrangements: Speaking of flexible work arrangements, today’s workforce places significance on flexibility and construction recruiters are becoming acquainted with this drift. Putting forward flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options and alternative schedules, can be an impressive incentive for attracting skilled professionals. True, the very nature of construction work most likely will require on-site presence, but incorporating flexibility wherever doable will boost the appeal to a wider range of candidates.


Highlight your impressive projects: Highly skilled construction workers want to work on the most impressive projects out there. They have stockpiled tremendous experience and want to showcase their talents by working on projects that are high in prominence. Make certain to let them know which amazing ones are on their horizon with your company.


Create a positive work environment:

Creating a positive work environment is critical in enticing and retaining skilled construction workers. Skilled workers choose to work for firms that value their contributions and offer a supportive and inclusive work environment. Companies should go all-out to promote a culture of teamwork, respect and communication.


Employ social media for employer branding: Social media platforms have become effective tools for employer branding. Construction firms are utilizing platforms including LinkedIn, Instagram and X to showcase their projects, focus on company culture and engage with would-be candidates. A robust online presence not only appeals to young workers who might be digitally savvy but also provides a platform for present employees to share their experiences, further boosting the company’s reputation.


Employee referrals: Encourage your current employees to refer skilled workers from their network with an employee referral program. Often, workers who already recognize and grasp your company’s culture and standards can point out the best candidates.


To sum it up, drawing skilled construction workers to your firm demands a comprehensive strategy. Companies need to provide competitive compensation and benefits, offer training and development opportunities, and construct a positive work environment. By employing these and other strategies described above, construction companies can position themselves as employers of choice in the industry and attract the skilled talent necessary to succeed.


If you need help in filling your skilled employee positions, give us a call or go to We have the necessary know-how and experience to find you the topnotch talent out there!