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Critical Labor Shortage in the Construction Industry

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It’s no secret that finding and keeping labor employees post-pandemic has been problematic at best. The construction industry has been hit at a unique and extreme level when it comes to working during these difficult times. Not only was the construction industry considered an essential business, but this industry was also just as busy if not busier during this time. Families were stuck at home and decided to finally do that home renovation or build that dream deck they'd been putting off. 

So, how did that affect our small business construction companies? Let me put this into perspective, from my view, while working at Green Home during the pandemic. We were labeled essential workers and gave our labor workers the option to work or stay home if they were worried about being exposed to the coronavirus. This knocked us down to running operations at half capacity and created a longer turnaround time when completing projects. Companies and vendors that we worked in tandem with experienced the same thing. Now we were operating at half capacity and were waiting double for materials. Fast-forward to now and we’re still cleaning up this past year's mess. Products are still back-ordered, furloughed employees have grown accustomed to their cushioned unemployment benefits and the freedom of being with their families as much as they want. I wouldn’t want to go back to work either if I had those same luxuries, but who hurts the most in this situation? Small business owners. We’ve been treading water trying to keep profits up and keep the doors open. 

What’s the plan to get things back in order? The first order of business is rebuilding our workforce; finding skilled laborers in this environment is very difficult. I do a lot of recruitment and networking for our office and have a few tips for finding those diamonds in the rough. One major thing I look for is tech-savvy construction workers. You might not think these two go hand-in-hand but they're a critical pair in the industry right now. There are so many ways to communicate and run operations with technology that makes things run smoother and faster. Two things that are almost unheard of coming out of the last two years.

Another factor is a big one: money. Even though recovering financially from the pandemic is tough we have to consider the future of our companies. We can't operate unless we have skilled, qualified, and valued employees. We have to look at our team as an investment and not an expense, especially the employees that stuck it out on the front lines. Showing our teams that we value them and investing in their futures with workshops and team-building events can make all the difference in the world.

The strategies are small, yet extremely productive. The construction industry has to bounce back as quickly and efficiently as possible. Look for the up-and-coming tech-savvy generation, build on those wages and show your team that they’re not just a body with a hammer. We will all make it back if we can’t learn from the adversity and come out bigger and better than ever. 

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