The U.S. construction industry will need about 1.7 million more workers by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Occupational Outlook. This is fantastic news, especially since the 2009 Global Recession laid off more than 2 million construction workers.
It’s time to get hiring, right? Well … maybe not.
While these opportunities for skilled talent now exist, 74 percent of construction firms are already having trouble finding quality workers, according to the Worker Shortage Survey Analysis published by the Associated General Contractors of America in September 2013.
There’s a shortage in skilled labor, in part, because of a shrinking labor pool. Experienced workers—particularly Baby Boomers—have exited or are exiting the workforce because of the Global Recession of 2009 or retirement, and the number of younger workers is also declining.
Because of the lack of skilled labor on job sites, workers are getting hurt on the job more often, and compensation claims are increasing for construction companies.
Zurich data shows organizations can spend as much as 14 to 21 percent of total payroll on disability costs as a result of employees being off work. These disability claims directly correlate with experience level and age.
New workers lack experience working in dangerous environments, and older workers are more prone to cumulative muscle wear and tear. It’s a dangerous situation in either event. But, as the economy improves, new hires — whether they are inexperienced or not — will become a greater portion of the workforce.
To help reduce a chance of injury on the job site, help general contractors and their subcontractors who are both affected by this, and their workers’ compensation costs, check out our list of 4 Ways to Help Reduce Risk in Construction.