We’re not even halfway through the NFL season and I’m already growing weary of my friends who are immersed in their fantasy football leagues. I really don’t want to hear about who your quarterback is and how many points he earned for you in the last game or how if only your defense hadn’t picked up a penalty on that last drive you’d be in first place. I’ve had a lot of pointless conversations over a few beers, but none more so than someone fighting an oncoming depression because her running back (who is usually “money”) couldn’t find any daylight for three quarters or his kicker missed four field goals and an extra point. Maybe that last one wasn’t so pointless since I’m a Detroit Lions fan (the Lions beat the Packers in week five partly because the Packers couldn’t hit a field goal).
Don’t get me wrong. I love football. And although I personally can’t find the joy in being part of a fantasy football league, I do understand a few of the driving factors. You need to choose/draft players at the skill positions, namely the quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. And you also choose a team’s defense. That’s actually the extent of my fantasy football knowledge.
I do know that a major factor for one’s success is driven by the skill position players.
Much like success on the job site is driven by your skilled workers.
Unfortunately, the skilled labor force continues to shrink even as construction employment keeps growing. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) announced recently that construction employment increased by 23,000 jobs in September and 315,000 for the year. On top of that, hourly wages in the industry averaged $30.18 in September, passing the $30 mark for the first time ever. Those are good, solid numbers that we all like to hear. But we also need to know that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
The AGC’s announcement also included this information from a recent survey of theirs:
“In the recent AGC-Autodesk Workforce survey, 76 percent of respondents said their firms plan to increase their headcount of hourly craft workers in the next year. However, 80 percent of the firms said they are having trouble filling hourly positions. For all but one of 20 specific crafts included in the survey, a majority of respondents reported that they were having more trouble hiring craft personnel this year compared to last year. And in addition, over three-quarters of respondents replied that the local programs for supplying well-trained, skilled craft personnel were poor or only fair.”
The AGC is advocating for a few courses of action including reforming immigration policy and increasing federal funding for career and technical education programs. The association’s chief executive officer, Steve Sandherr said, “Despite stellar growth, the construction workforce shortage is hurting contractors and others who depend on our industry. Reforming current career educational programs can provide real choice to students and encourage the development of high-reward, high-skill jobs.”
We need skilled workers if we’re going to “win.” And the thing is…this is no fantasy.
What do you think the construction industry should be doing to only attract skilled workers, but also build a whole new base of skilled labor? Please leave me your comments below.