According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the novel coronavirus virus (COVID-19) has been detected in more than 160 locations internationally, including in the United States. As anyone with a computer or television knows, the number of cases involving person-to-person transmission outside China has been increasing at such a steady rate that the World Health Organization has recently declared the outbreak a pandemic. Each day, the number of confirmed infections rises exponentially. Quite simply, all industries, including retail, hospitality, manufacturing, finance and professional services are suffering and will continue to suffer disruptions not seen in our lifetimes.
Even prior to the pandemic the industry had already been plagued by an aging and ever dwindling skilled labor pool. Construction workers – aging out of the workforce. The average age in construction was 40.4 years in 2008 up four years from 1985. Construction workers overall stop working at an earlier age than other workers. These demographics predict an exodus of experienced workers from the industry in the next decade. In states where there are specific licensing requirements for specialty trades, it is even harder. In an already tightening construction labor market, any further and widespread disruption will have a major impact.
According to a report from the Brookings Institution nearly 3 million infrastructure workers are expected to retire or permanently leave their jobs in the next decade. An aging workforce combined with a lack of visibility, flexible training, or a pipeline of young talent has hit a crisis point, especially for smaller and rural communities where operations are under threat.
The combination of a decreasing pool of skilled workers due to retirements and increasing demand of construction and infrastructure, repair, and development provide the conditions which create opportunity for secure, well-paying careers for young people.
As the economy ramps up in a post-COVID-19 rebuilding, the greatest shortages will occur among skilled construction workers. In a job market likely flooded with unemployed, those people with demonstrable skills will stand out for the better paying positions. For people working in the fields, the key will be the ability to demonstrate skills. Certification offers a clear proof of skills that provides access to the best jobs.
In a state with a massive housing shortage, workers looking ahead and preparing for careers that will flourish in a post-COVID-19, construction trades offer a clear choice.