Contractors See Bright 2019, But Finding Workers Is Still Tough

- Construction contractors are upbeat about their businesses’ outlook for 2019 and expect to increase staffing, but they remain worried about recruiting enough workers to meet their needs, a new industry survey says.

The Associated General Contractors of America-Sage Construction and Real Estate survey, whose results were announced on Jan. 2, shows that more contractors foresee all market segments the survey covered increasing than declining.

In addition, 79% of the more than 1,300 firms that responded to the AGC-Sage survey plan to expand their workforce in 2019, though 49% of those responding say that they will only increase their total workforce by 10% or less.

Moreover, 78% of those filing responses say they are having difficulties in attracting salaried and hourly craft jobs. Moreover, 26% say it will be more difficult to bring workers on board this year.

To attract new staff, 59% of the firms say they boosted base pay rates, 29% gave bonuses or provided other incentives and 24% sweetened employee benefits.                                                                                         

Almost one-third of survey respondents say they are using a variety of techniques to replace workers or use workers who have less training than those in previous years. The techniques include lean construction, building information modeling (BIM) or offsite fabrication of project components.

In addition, 42% of firms responding to the survey said they plan to increase spending on information technology, including project-management and document-management software.

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