The construction industry is still booming in most of the country, which is turning into a double edged sword for many contractors. On one hand, more work equals more money. On the other, more work means the need to find more qualified workers to actually build the projects, which has proven to be a very tough task in recent years. A recent survey highlights the repercussions of that dilemma.
The 2019 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Report
The Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate recently released the results of a survey, titled Contractors Remain Confident About Demand, Worried About Labor Supply: The 2019 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Report that shows 79% of construction firms plan to add headcount in 2019. That percentage is a slight increase over 2018, in which 75% of respondents said they plan to increase headcount. Almost have of the group that plans to add headcount only plan to increase by 10% or less.
Over 1,300 firms responded to a 20 question survey, covering 49 states and Washington DC. You can find the full survey results here.
On the flip side, 78% reported that they are having a tough time filling both salaried and hourly positions, which was down from 83% in 2018’s results. Not only is the inability to find qualified staff making it difficult to complete more work, 37% of the firms say they are increasing bid costs to compensate for staffing changes.
Pay and Benefits for Employees
Increased labor costs can be good news for the actual workers, though. 59% of firms reported that they gave pay raises, another 29% say they added incentives or bonuses, and another 34% increased benefit packages to help retain and attract employees.
Training and Development
63% of firms plan to invest more into training and development programs for both new and current workers, which is up from 52% last year. That’s great news to hear, because as it becomes more difficult to find qualified workers, firms are increasingly hiring “green” employees with little to no experience. Inexperience on a job site can lead to an increased risk of safety issues without proper training.
42% of responding companies said that they plan to increase their IT budget in 2019 and 30% of those will use that money towards project and document management software. That makes perfect sense to me, as companies that are serious about using technology to further their business need to pick a centralized platform for sharing and communicating with others.
The survey showed that firms are getting more comfortable with moving their project data to the cloud, with 31% saying they are very comfortable, up from 24% in 2018. Just over a quarter of the respondents say that their biggest technology challenge is finding the time to implement and train employees on the new programs. Overhauling a formerly paper driven system is no doubt a tall task not for the faint of heart.