Good News: Construction Wages Expected to Jump 3.4% This Year


A wage increase two years in a row might make construction work more attractive to those who have left the business and to potential new workers.

Construction wages for workers not only rose by 3.6 percent last year but are expected to make another 3.4 percent jump in 2017. Since the Association of General Contractors says that these estimates are frequently on the low side, it might be somewhat higher.

This welcome news may mean that more people may get into the construction business, which faces a worker shortage. However, there are ways to increase and retain employees in the construction industry that some companies have found useful. Finding a way to complete contractor school continuing education requirements quickly, easily and while saving money is also helpful.

Is There Really a Worker Shortage?

Although contractors don’t need anyone to tell them about a worker shortage, according to Fortune magazine, 30 percent of construction workers went into different fields with the economic downturn in 2008. The National Association of Homebuilders says the number of workers needed increased by 81 percent in a two-year period to 200,000. Without sufficient workers, construction lags, project lags and the construction of higher priced houses leaves some potential home buyers sitting on the sidelines.

What Are Total Rewards Programs?

Some construction companies are offering other types of compensation in addition to wages to retain and train employees. Added opportunities to balance the life and work schedules and career development opportunities can help a contractor retain skilled workers. Other incentives are offered such as the one by a Boston construction company. There, if an employee stays with a company for a period of one year, they can purchase shares in a company stock program.

Can Offering a Flexible Work Schedule Draw and Retain Employees?

Flexible work hours are used in many businesses and can be a large draw to potential employees. This may be particularly true to get Millennials into the workplace. One company in Boston, Shawmut Design and Construction, allows telecommuting, job sharing and offers shorter work weeks. In addition, part-time jobs are available in administrative and field jobs.


When a contractor has loyal employees, it provides many benefits to the company.

What Is an Employee Stock Ownership Program?

According to Construction Dive, in an ESOP, the shares in stock are earned through the employee’s own labor, not by purchasing the shares with money. Besides providing retirement income for employees, it can also increase the company’s productivity. Employees who have a vested interest in a business work harder, work better and care that the company does well because it is to their benefit. Providing shares to employees is a way to sidetrack some of that concern.

Is an ESOP for Everyone?

Not necessarily. It depends on the size of the business and their assets. In some cases, this has been done when an employer was planning on retiring and wanted to reward employees who had helped make the company a success. On the other hand, an employer who is selling stock in the company may be concerned that a competitor in the business might purchase it. After buying it, the new owner may close down the company to eliminate the competition with his or her own business.

Keeping Ahead of the Competition

PDH Contractor Academy offers online and correspondence continuing education courses in multiple states through our contractor school that fulfills a contractor’s educational requirements for relicensing. With the advantage of studying whenever and wherever it is convenient, we also offer attractive prices and discounts for bundles. When you successfully complete a course, we provide a copy to your state licensing board, where allowed, and give you a copy of the completion certificate for your own files. Browse courses by state for more information.

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