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Overcoming the Skilled Labor Shortage


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One of the industries hit the hardest during the recession was construction––credit lines were tight, contractors were not getting business and a significant number of workers were laid off. Unable to find jobs in the construction field, the vast majority of these individuals went to other sectors to locate work.

"It's already started, and it's going to get worse," Holsman said. "You can't buy your way out of it."

The skilled labor shortage continues unabated

Now that the economy has finally climbed out of the depths of the recession and construction firms have started to build in higher quantity, many companies are facing a major problem: The skilled laborers who left the industry are not coming back. 

As noted in a recent survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America, a whopping 70 percent of construction firms reported difficulty locating enough skilled laborers for open positions. Nearly as many respondents think this problem will either exacerbate or remain the same during the next 12 months.

To counter this growing industry trend, some firms plan on increasing compensation and other benefits to attract the skilled workers they need, while 46 percent also plan on boosting their investment in training and development programs for current employees. Although these strategies should play a significant role in incentivizing people back into the construction industry, it will not necessarily be enough to bring the necessary skilled laborers back into the sector. Associated General Contractors of California CEO Tom Holsman told the Sacramento Business Journal that this problem will end up slowing down many projects.

"It's already started, and it's going to get worse," Holsman said. "You can't buy your way out of it."

Due to this major obstacle, construction firms may end up hiring individuals that don't necessarily have the experience or skill set required to complete a job to the highest standard of quality possible. If this happens, it could be detrimental to construction firms’ reputations and brands, resulting in financial disaster.

The time management conundrum

Without an adequate number of skilled workers contributing to a project's completion, it can be really hard for a construction firm to stay on schedule. Fixed deadlines approach rapidly, and are often quite inflexible. As project managers juggle a variety of subcontractors and workers, ensuring that every task is completed on time is paramount.

Using Procore's cloud-based software platform, project managers can increase efficiency and save a considerable amount of time. Procore allows users to easily configure and analyze daily logs and track which subcontractors showed up and how long they took to complete their jobs. With instant access to this crucial data, construction firms can really see the time and cost savings for every job.

Ultimately, the increased efficiency afforded by utilizing this best-in-class platform lets project managers delegate more tasks to the right subcontractor. In the current industry landscape, with its prolonged labor shortage, this opens up the door for construction firms to take advantage of the workers they have and get more bang for their buck.

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