Labor Shortage May Slow Construction

By Timothy Johnson | Apr 15, 2015




For years, the industry has foretold of the inevitable shortage of skilled construction workers. According to a new survey, the projected labor shortage may be complex and due to a confluence of factors.

Consulting, investment and research firm FMI Corp., in a survey of contruction executives, found that a labor shortage will restrict almost one-quarter of the respondents from bidding more work. Furthermore, the survey found that about one-third of the respondents will experience slow growth without sufficient skilled labor and tradespeople.

In a press release, Ken Wilson, director for FMI, said the demand for skilled trade workers would increase more than 10 percent in the next 10 years.

According to Wilson, one large construction company reported in the survey that it expected to need 8,500 additional craft workers by 2017.

The good news for electrical contractors is the survey found that the top five positions that will be the most difficult to fill are in general construction. In order, they are operator (heavy equipment), welder, carpenter, pipefitter, and ironworker (reinforcing).

FMI identified two major contributing factors to the high demand on craft labor. First, much of the construction workforce is projected to shift to oil and gas related construction, which FMI expects will account for 10 percent of the total construction workforce by 2017.

Second, survey respondents indicated construction companies intending to self-perform work will increase by 63 percent.

The full report is available on

About The Author

Timothy Johnson is the former digital editor for ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine.

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