The Construction Industry Talent Search

By | Practice

By the end of 2021, the construction industry had 430,000 unfilled positions—and the situation isn’t looking any better for the foreseeable future. Over the next two years, construction is projected to face an additional 1 million openings. And while this critical shortage of skilled workers predated COVID-19, the global pandemic has introduced problems that have only exacerbated the situation, including supply-chain disruptions and scheduling delays.

Unlike the pandemic, which has sparked widespread efforts to find and implement solutions, however, the worker shortage in many ways remains an underappreciated crisis with the potential to stall the economic boom following the end of COVID-19—even as construction companies are poised to benefit from the $1.2-trillion infrastructure bill signed into law this past November. The question remains: How can the construction industry fulfill demand and provide quality work without quality workers?

Construction Executive talked to leaders across the industry about the challenges of the talent shortage and how construction can evolve to overcome them.

CNN Interview: Matthew Schimenti on Industry Labor Shortages

By | Press

The construction industry shut down for a few months last year during the pandemic — but was quickly deemed essential, allowing paused projects to continue. But in that short time, the sector
lost more than 1 million workers. The industry has recouped nearly 80% of its workforce since then, but is still down 238,000 workers from pre-pandemic levels as of June, according to the Labor Department.

We’re losing more people than we’re bringing into the industry. People made decisions in their lives to leave the region and the industry [during the pandemic]. It was like putting a puzzle back together to restart where we literally called a timeout. If we wished it was just a bad dream and it would go away and everybody would just come back— that’s not going to happen.”
– Matthew Schimenti

Schimenti Construction — which primarily works on commercial projects — has 20 open positions across all skill levels. They’ve even hired two internal recruiters just to look for talent. Commercial construction remained largely flat during the pandemic, but it’s expected to pick up as the US economy returns to pre-pandemic norms.