Although July’s unemployment rate for construction workers reached a 14-year low, industry leaders say there still isn’t enough talent to go around. After the housing bubble burst and the sub-prime mortgage crisis swung into full gear in the early 2000s, many construction professionals shifted into other industries to find work. Very little new talent entered the field because jobs remained scarce.
Now, however, a surge in residential and commercial projects has created substantial demand for construction workers. Professionals of all stripes, from roofers and painters to general contractors and plumbers, are needed to staff developments across the United States. Many industry veterans claim that, among other factors, a lack of education programs has contributed to the dearth of employees.
Captivating the Interest of America’s Youth
Children and teenagers often receive exposure to subjects that interest them early in their educational careers. They might decide they want to be engineers, lawyers, teachers, accountants, or doctors as they explore new topics in school. If kids had access to technical training in construction-related fields, they might decide to pursue that avenue of employment.
Lack of funding in schools leads to the elimination of electives related to the construction industry. Classes like wood shop aren’t considered essential for secondary education, so high schools stop offering them. Teenagers might not even consider construction employment because it isn’t made accessible to them.
Some schools, of course, continue to expose children to different career fields, including construction. In Kentucky, for example, schools host career days every year that show teens what it’s like to work in various industries. They receive on-the-job exposure to the fields of their choice so they can make informed decisions.
Making Construction More Attractive to Young People
Every year, more veteran construction industry professionals retire from their jobs after decades of valuable service. If no young people step in to fill those retirees’ boots, the industry suffers from a lack of talent.
Industry experts hope to make construction more attractive to youth by showing them that they can make a comfortable income from the work while enjoying a rewarding profession.
A general contractor, for example, earns a mean of more than $45 per hour. That rivals the salaries commanded by computer scientists, marketing managers, behavioral psychologists, and securities traders. Young people might not realize that the words “construction worker” and “contractor” are not synonymous with “underpaid laborer.”
People of all ages can get involved in the construction industry by obtaining their contractor’s licenses and even starting their own businesses. An increase in educational programs at high schools and technical schools would encourage youth to consider construction as a future career. Additionally, parents, teachers, and construction professionals can encourage the young people in their lives to give this industry a second look.
A career in the construction industry offers significant earnings potential and a high level of job satisfaction, whether you work in the field or in the office. If you are interested in a career in construction or if you need to complete your continuing education contractor courses, visit the PDH Contractors Academy to start your course now.