Navigating the Construction Labor Shortage with Resilience & Passion
In the realm of residential construction, the foundations of success are not just bricks and mortar, but also the dedicated teams that pour their expertise, creativity and passion into crafting custom homes for families. However, in recent years, our industry has faced a pressing challenge – a construction labor shortage that has left companies scrambling to meet the demands of a booming economy.
According to a 2023 News Release by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the construction industry will need to attract an estimated 546,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2023 to meet the demand for labor. ABC President Michael Bellaman noted that “As the demand for construction services remains high, filling these roles with skilled craft professionals is vital to America’s economy and infrastructure rebuilding initiatives.”
The labor shortage in the US construction industry is a multifaceted problem with various contributing factors, including but not limited to an aging workforce, a skills gap and economic booms that exceed the available workforce. The Fall 2023 Construction Labor Market Report from the Home Builders Institute (HBI) detailed that the number of open construction sector jobs currently averages between 300,000 to 400,000 every month, with at least 90% of single-family homebuilders reporting a shortage of carpenters and up to 85% reporting a shortage of subcontractors in six other trades. Even as the housing market slowed in late 2022, the construction unemployment rate remained historically low by the standards of the last 20 years, reflecting fundamental shortages of construction labor. Further, the share of construction workers aged 25 to 54 has dropped by 6% between 2015 and 2021.
Creating a Solution | Revolution Workshop
Scott Simpson is one of the founders of Revolution Workshop, a nonprofit looking to both aid the construction labor shortage issue, as well as uplift Chicago’s underserved communities. In 2017, a small group of skilled trades employers, including Scott Simpson of Scott Simpson Design + Build, and workforce development leaders joined together to form Revolution Workshop, an incubator that provides free training for jobs in the skilled construction trades to Chicagoans.
These jobs outpace and exceed typical earnings in other industries. According to a Current Employment Statistics (CES) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), average hourly earnings (AHE) in construction increased 5.4% in the last year and approached the $36 mark in March 2023, compared to the overall US private sector AHE of $33.2. The job training provided by Revolution Workshop not only gives trainees incredible skills that lead directly to lucrative jobs after their training, but also less tangible gifts: determination, camaraderie and hope.
If you are interested in supporting a deserving cause and the underserved communities of Chicago, you can learn more here >>
SSDB Team Culture – Fostering Relationships
In addition to actively fostering solutions through Revolution Workshop, SSDB is grateful that our team’s longevity and integrity has allowed us to keep the pace at building sites. We are proud of our dedicated architects, builders, project management team, long-standing subcontractors, suppliers, craftspeople and clients who are all dedicated to building beautiful homes. While the construction labor shortage can be difficult to navigate, we are so grateful that the community that we have built has allowed us to keep delivering on expectations.
Our team’s dedication is embedded in our culture. By establishing an environment where each team member is valued, we are able to foster creativity and pride in our work, which has been pivotal in retaining talent and attracting new individuals passionate about the craft. We were 3 people in 1994- now we’re 17, including five in-house architects. Alongside the national statistic of women making up a growing share of construction employment and reaching a new record high of 11% in 2021 (Construction Labor Market Report), SSDB is proud to be a design-build firm that is 44% women.
When you work with SSDB, you partner with a seamless team that is passionate, authentic and will continue to strive for excellence every day, regardless of the challenges of the construction industry.
Curious what it’s like to work with SSDB to build your custom home? Contact us >>