How will the US Construction labour shortage impact executive search?

May, 2021

There’s very little that’s remained unaffected by Covid during the past year and, unfortunately, the construction industry has had its fair share of issues.

The pandemic (both directly and indirectly) has led to a shortage of labour within the US construction industry. Despite this, the tide is starting to turn and here at Imperium Global, we’re keen to help construction firms pick up the slack.

The cause for concern

Understandably, concerns over safety and covid transmission are critical and, in many roles within the construction industry, social distancing either isn’t possible or would be difficult to achieve and maintain. However, these factors alone don’t explain the shortage of workers.

The combination of schools closing over safety concerns and the high risks the virus poses to the elderly meant that a significant number of workers are required to stay at home to look after their more vulnerable family members. Reflecting the shift in priorities many were forced to take and the drastic loss of jobs within various industries, stimulus checks were provided by the US government for many who needed them. This meant that many workers with lower incomes found themselves in an economic position that wasn’t too different from their previous standing, albeit with more free time to do as they wished were, therefore, less incentivized to return to work amid a pandemic.

Change of direction

One of the more interesting, and possibly affecting changes for the recruitment industry, is that the current pandemic has given employees across all sectors time to reassess their careers and the direction they want to take, with some 66% of unemployed workers seriously considering a change in the sector they’ve previously worked in. While this might mean some employees are looking to move away from construction, it could easily balance out with those looking to move into the industry.

In fact, with some careers never returning as companies adapt and introduce automation, it might be safe to assume there’ll be a glut of workers looking to move to where there is work available. However, one thing to consider is the public attitude towards construction work. Entry-level jobs are often overlooked as dirty, menial, and underpaying when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

A similar problem that arises from misconceptions surrounding the construction industry is the attitude that anyone can walk in off the street and find a job. What is needed in construction is skilled labourers with training and experience. There are concerns that the most experienced, and therefore most skilled, construction workers are the oldest and most at risk of covid – leaving an already understaffed industry with another gap to fill.

Turning things around

While at times it may seem to be mostly bad news, things are in fact set to improve. With 50% of US states having vaccinated at least half their adult population, we can expect to see things getting back to normal in the near future.

While the pandemic may have changed the way a lot of companies work, it’s also highlighted changes that need to be made and has encouraged innovation across all industries, construction included. Though it may sound counterintuitive, the temporary lull in the construction industry makes it an exciting place to be, as companies prepare to make changes and gear up for a post-pandemic future.

Imperium Global and Construction

It’s expected that the shortage of workers will delay future projects and cause current ones to be prolonged. With executives keen to get the ball rolling and reduce any further complications, it can mean a busy period for recruitment companies until the shortage of workers resolves itself.

Here at Imperium Global, we’re in contact with a growing list of experts covering all aspects of the construction industry, helping you recover from any delays efficiently and professionally.

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