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Workforce development continues to be an issue for construction in all four regions of the United States. Numbers of construction employees in the U.S. steadily increased from 1969 to 2007, before taking a dip. The number has been slowly climbing since 2012, and is expected to rise to pre-dip numbers soon. But it’s not there yet.

Many companies and industry support groups have made a concerted, grassroots effort to educate the next generation about the benefits of a construction career. These endeavors focus on educating high school students and younger about the possibilities of a career in the construction industry, focusing on opportunity, training and interest.

Following are some messages and statistics that construction companies can use to shift the pendulum back in a positive direction.

There are many jobs available

 Construction unemployment is at an all-time low. With the current workforce aging and retiring, construction firms are more eager than ever to bring in new faces. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 300,000 new jobs were available in the construction industry in the last 10 years, bringing in substantial opportunity to jobseekers.

Competitive salaries attract new employees

 There are many construction careers available, with or without college degrees, and the salaries are very competitive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and trade show ConExpo, pay for all U.S. construction employees averaged $64,048, 32% higher than the occupational average. Because of the shortage, companies are paying reliable and competent employees well to attract and retain them.

Opportunities abound for women

Females currently make up nearly 10% of the construction workforce, and these numbers are growing through programs such as Nontraditional Employment for Women.
Women
in construction earn 95.7% of what their male counterparts make, compared to the national average of 82% across all other industries, according to The National Association of Women in Construction, making construction an economically viable choice to support a family. Construction positions for women are also plentiful in sales, management, maintenance, production and material moving.

Every day is fresh and unique

Every construction project brings new, exciting challenges to keep minds sharp and interest piqued. No two days are the same, which will teach employees to address unforeseen challenges and apply that knowledge for the rest of their careers. For many construction positions, employees are able to share their time between the office and the field, making it much more interesting than many other jobs. For professionals who like to build things or work with their hands, there are plenty of high-paying positions available, even without being in management.

Accomplishments are visible for years to come

Decades after completion of a project, construction workers and their families can visit a building or drive over a bridge and feel satisfaction for a job well done. Very few careers boast such a sustainable legacy on the local community and beyond.

The industry continues to boost the economy

Construction is a vital contributor to economic growth, providing employment opportunities in a variety of areas plus financial support to the relevant supply chain and a multitude of service providers. Construction contributes $781 billion of the U.S. gross domestic product, making it a valuable piece of the national economic foundation.

Construction is satisfying and rewarding

From building homes for families to live in, schools for children to learn in, and roads to deliver goods and facilitate travel to visit friends and relatives, construction is a contributing factor to the modern way of life. Considering that construction supplies clean water, electricity, cell phone towers, factories, railroads and ports, the industry will impart a sense of accomplishment in helping to build America.

In conclusion: demand greatness

Construction companies should continue to seek dedicated team players who are ready to learn, smart and good at solving problems. They shouldn’t sacrifice their company values of quality or character to meet employment quotas. It might be harder to accomplish, but it’s not impossible.

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