If you’re struggling to find qualified, skilled workers to fill open positions on your job sites, you’re not alone. According to a proprietary model developed by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the construction industry will need to attract an estimated 546,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2023 to meet the demand for labor. ABC also states that the construction industry averaged more than 390,000 job openings per month in 2022, the highest level on record.
Furthermore, the industry unemployment rate of 4.6% in 2022 was the second lowest on record, only marginally higher than the 4.5% unemployment rate observed in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The shortage of construction workers can make it difficult for companies to take full advantage of the The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) aimed at modernizing U.S. roads, railways, bridges, and energy production. Without enough workers, projects can’t commence, or if they are underway, timelines tend to lapse leading to missed deadlines or completion dates. Also, lead times for hiring subcontractors are becoming longer. Some companies are unable to accept new projects that will move their businesses forward because the labor simply isn’t available to handle the work. In virtually no other industry is the gap between available workers and opportunity wider than in civil construction.
To compete with other industries and attract new talent, civil construction and earthworks companies need to adopt advanced digital technology. Not only do these solutions improve efficiency and team collaboration, but they also appeal to the younger, tech-savvy generation who want to work with these tools. To execute the ambitious agenda of the IIJA, the industry will need to build a larger skilled workforce, which will help to avoid overstretching current workers and cut down on employee burnout. Adding more skilled workers can also help keep projects on time and within budget.
Understanding the reasons behind the labor shortage, and getting creative with how you address it, can help you accomplish more with a smaller workforce—without sacrificing quality or your bottom line.
The simplest—and fastest—way to address the skilled labor shortage in construction is to make the most of the workforce you have. The right construction software, combined with an automated drone surveying workflow, can have a dramatic impact on your day-to-day efficiency.
Colorado-based Fiore’s Head of Survey, Justin Russell, went from topo-ing one site a day to as many as six, simply by incorporating drone surveying technology into his regular workflow. Check out our video series on how Fiore uses drone technology.
The right construction software streamlines efficiency on your worksites by:
Investing in new technology to help your current workforce increase collaboration, improve communication, and streamline efficiencies isn’t just a good idea; it’s a necessity. Today, more and more companies are making investments in cutting-edge tech like construction software and drone surveying workflows to optimize labor. In addition, other technologies, such as building information modeling (BIM) and augmented reality also appeal to Gen Z workers. They’re more likely to want to work for a tech-savvy company, so adopting a digital hiring process and expanding the technology you use in the office and on site can help your company look more attractive.
If your worksites are behind schedule and over budget due to a reduced workforce, how will you compete with companies who are using the latest tech to streamline their processes (and lower their bids)?
Construction software creates a centralized, easily accessible source of truth available to all who need it. Communication becomes faster and easier, both internally and with clients. With less on their plates, surveyors, foremen, project managers, and supervisors can accomplish more in less time.
Technology also helps eliminate the element of human error, which is inevitable with manual workflows and can result in cost overrun very quickly. The question isn’t whether you can afford to invest in new technology this year. It’s whether you can afford not to.