It’s well known that the construction industry is experiencing a labor shortage, but a new survey conducted by Housing First Minnesota on behalf of Project Build Minnesota reveals the depth of the issue. Of the more than 225 construction firms that responded to the survey, 88 percent reported that they have experienced a labor shortage in the past 12 months, with 63 percent of respondents reporting the labor shortage has caused their firm to actually turn away business.
“The results of this survey confirm that the labor shortage is now contributing to Minnesota’s housing shortage and housing affordability problem,” said David Siegel, executive director of Housing First Minnesota and Project Build Minnesota board member. “We must take action now to alleviate the labor shortage before this issue worsens. Gov. Dayton has called on our industry to build 300,000 new homes by 2030, and that will be exceptionally difficult if we don’t address this labor shortage.”
Respondents reported (72 percent) that not only were they unable to find workers, their new hires are now less prepared for the job than they were a decade ago.
Siegel acknowledged that the task of introducing youth to our industry will not be easy. “For far too long, we’ve pushed all of our state’s youth toward four-year colleges. It’s time to return to a conversation about the importance of skilled trades,” he said. “With the loss of technical education programs in our schools, young people simply are not being exposed to the jobs in the construction industry as they were previously.”
The survey also revealed that many companies (80 percent) are raising wages to attract new workers and some companies (43 percent) are also offering a bonus to employees for referrals.