Just entering the workforce or thinking of a new career in 2017? Consider a job in construction, an industry already facing a labor shortage and poised for significant growth this year.
With both the incoming presidential administration and Congress signifying their intentions to make infrastructure projects a top priority this year, highly trained construction workers will be in greater demand.
Labor shortages resulting from the 2007-2008 recession prompted The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) to call for the new administration to initiate workforce measures as part of its infrastructure improvement plan. Such measures, according to the AGC, should include increased funding for high school career and technical education programs as well as support for apprenticeship training programs at construction firms.
Residential construction is also on the upswing
Although realtor.com® forecasts a slowing of the national real estate market compared to the last two years, they expect new home sales to grow 10 percent and new home starts to increase 3 percent in 2017.
Overall, construction employment is picking up in many areas. In November 2016, employment in the industry reached its highest level since November 2008, with employers adding 19,000 jobs. The AGC reports that 34 states added construction jobs between November 2015 and November 2016, while construction employment increased in 29 states and the District of Columbia during the past month.
As construction demands grow, the need for qualified workers increases. If you’re interested but new to the industry, you may be wondering where to start. The construction sector comprises three subsectors (source: North American Industry Classification System):
• Construction of buildings (residential and non-residential): Includes companies that focus on new work, additions, alterations or maintenance and repairs as well as onsite assembly of precut, panelized and prefabricated buildings and construction of temporary buildings. Some or all of the work in this subsector is usually subcontracted to other construction establishments such as specialty trade contractors.
• Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction: Includes companies that focus on new work, additions, alterations, or maintenance and repairs of entire engineering projects, and specialty trade contractors, who focus on the production of specific components for each project. Construction work focuses primarily on projects such as highways, utility systems, dams and land subdivision vs. buildings.
• Specialty Trade: Includes companies that primarily perform specific duties such as site preparation, concrete pouring, plumbing, electrical work and painting needed in the construction of buildings. The labor, which may include new work, additions, alterations, maintenance and repairs, is usually subcontracted through companies or the owner of the property. Although specialty trade contractors work primarily onsite, some have shops dedicated to prefabrication and other offsite work.
The three types of jobs you'll likely find on any construction site:
• Skilled Trades: Tradespeople such as carpenters, masons and glaziers who are focused on the design and execution of various project aspects.
• Operations: Construction managers and surveyors who initiate projects and keep them on track to completion.
• General Workers: Essential construction team members who handle a multitude of duties in support of project execution and completion.
In many instances, construction workers start out as generalists and move to a specialty area once they gain experience. As they build their skills, workers can decide to go into a specific trade, become an apprentice and receive more formal training and certification. Some might also attend college and receive a bachelor’s degree in construction management. AGC offers training and educational programs focusing on several aspects of the construction industry.
The opportunities abound, with employment for general construction workers expected to increase over the next decade. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2024, such employment will rise by almost 13 percent and exceed 1.3 million workers. As a result, the industry is expected to see 147,400 new jobs open.
And where there’s construction, there’s a need for modular space solutions.
“People interested in working in construction should consider the modular space industry,” said Ray Onofrio, WillScot’s director of commercial excellence for the Northeast region. “For well over 50 years, we’ve provided modular space solutions, whether it’s due to company growth, new construction, renovations, changes in school populations or to help rebuild after natural and man-made disasters. We’re always looking for motivated and dedicated individuals to join us.”
As our nation continues to build and rebuild, WillScot remains steadfast in its mission to be the best space product and service provider in the industry. We are well-known for our outstanding product innovation and exceptional customer service.
Interested in joining our team? Search for available opportunities near you.