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Addressing the Widening Talent gap in the Construction Workforce

Bentley Systems' Women in Infrastructure - Part 1

There’s a tangible talent and skilled labor gap in the construction industry. And it’s only getting wider.

According to an Associated Builders and Contractors press release from early February, the construction industry will need to attract an estimated 546,000 additional workers. That’s in addition to the normal pace of hiring in 2023 to meet the demand for labor. Deloitte’s 2023 engineering and construction industry outlook sheds light on why job openings in construction remain high; it’s a combination of declining interest in the industry, an aging population, and talent pressures from industries such as technology and trucking. Another number that jumps out to me is that women only make up 10% of the construction workforce in the U.S. Yet, 2.65 million women are unemployed at the time of writing this article. And underemployment is a whole other topic.  

So, are talent and skills gaps in the construction industry temporary or the new normal? I think only time will tell, but certainly, that gap is going to take some time to fill.  And if you’re a construction services company, you are probably asking yourself:  What can we, as a firm, do now? How do we set ourselves up for long-term success? I’ve come up with talent-related strategies and bucketed them into short-, medium-, and long-term actions.

What you can do now. Make work more appealing, enjoyable, and efficient with purpose, flexibility, and technology.

Intermediate steps to take. In the medium term, consider promoting internships, apprenticeships, and other ways to partner with universities and vocational schools to find good candidates and increase diversity.

In it for the long game. We need more young students entering skilled trades and eventually careers. outreach needs to start now.

We can’t build a better world for tomorrow if we don’t start investing in the talent we need today. The need for skilled tradespeople and other qualified workers in the construction industry doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Hopefully the talent strategies I’ve provided offer tangible and attainable ideas to consider and operationalize.    

Claire Rutkowski

By: Claire Rutkowski, SVP and CIO Champion, Bentley Systems

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