The booming economy keeps commercial contractors optimistic, but finding enough workers continues to be a struggle. To solve this workforce dilemma, contractors look to incorporate new technologies, the Q4 2018 USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index found.
Here are a few highlights from this quarter’s index:
- The index remained stable at 75, meaning contractors continue to be optimistic about commercial construction market.
- Contractors surveyed are more confident about new business opportunities in the next year than they were last quarter.
- Contractors’ expectations for future revenues remained steady.
The report also notes continued workforce difficulties.
Fifty-eight percent said it was difficult to find skilled workers, and thirty-six percent said it was moderately difficult.
Also, nearly six-in-ten have a high concern about finding workers with adequate skill levels, and four-in-ten say the ability to find skilled workers has gotten worse in the last six months.
At the same time, contractors are using some type of advanced technology. More than half (54%) use tech like drones, equipment tagging, or augmented/virtual reality. Nearly three-quarters said they expect to use at least one of these technologies in the next three years.
Two-thirds surveyed said the chief benefit they expect to get from advanced technology is improved labor productivity, followed by being better able to manage project schedules and budgets, and improving safety.
Construction isn’t alone in having workforce challenges. They affect many industries across our economy, making this a priority for the business community.
“Today, our economy is being rapidly reshaped by technology and other forces,” said Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “This transformation is creating opportunity, but too many people lack the skills or credentials they need to compete for 21st century jobs, and too many businesses can’t find the skilled workers they need. To maintain America’s competitive advantage, it’s imperative that industries and businesses adapt and leverage technology as a way to address workforce challenges.”