Skilled Labor Gap Causes Project Delays In U.S. Construction

A survey recently conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and Autodesk reveals that a limited number of job seekers in the U.S. construction industry possess the requisite skills for effective job performance. This presents a vexing and business-disrupting predicament for the 1,400 U.S. construction companies that participated in the survey during July and August. Approximately 85% of these firms are actively seeking to fill vacancies, but they are encountering significant challenges.

Persistent issues such as supply chain disruptions and workforce shortages continue to plague the U.S. construction industry. An astounding 68% of respondents indicated that applicants lack the essential competencies required for construction work. Moreover, 61% reported project delays attributed to labor shortages, while 65% cited delays caused by supply-related challenges. The increased costs associated with these challenges led half of the U.S. construction companies’ respondents to either cancel, defer, or downsize their projects.

In response to the skills deficit, U.S. companies are redirecting resources towards internal training efforts, with 41% increasing their investments in this area. Additionally, 25% of U.S. respondents are incorporating video-based training, and 14% are embracing augmented and virtual reality technology as training tools.

Despite these challenges, there is a glimmer of hope in the survey results. A noteworthy segment of U.S. construction firms participating in the survey is optimistic about the potential of new technologies to enhance the workforce’s skillset. Approximately 41% of U.S. respondents believe that artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will, within the next five years, elevate the quality of U.S. construction jobs and enhance worker safety and productivity.