Labor supply and capability of workers worry contractors

Three out of four firms plan to add workers in 2020.

January 03, 2020 |

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Most construction companies expect demand for their services and hiring to expand in 2020, but even more companies are worried about their ability to find qualified workers to hire, according to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate.

“Contractors are very optimistic about demand for construction in 2020,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. “At the same time, many construction executives are troubled by labor shortages and the impacts those shortages are having on operations, training, and safety programs, and bottom lines.”

Seventy-five percent of contracting firms plan to increase headcount this year, similar to the 77% with this expectation at the start of 2019 and the 75% at the start of 2018. The findings are detailed in Strong Demand for Work Amid Stronger Demand for Workers: The 2020 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Report.

Even though most companies plan to expand headcount, 81% report they are having a hard time filling salaried and hourly craft positions. That share is up slightly from 78% at the start of 2019.

The percentage of respondents who expect a market segment to expand exceeds the percentage who expect it to contract for all 13 categories of projects included in the survey. For every segment, between 27% and 36% of respondents expect an increase compared to 2019 in the dollar value of projects they compete for.

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