Addressing the Skilled Trades Shortage: Commercial Contractor Strategies

The construction industry has been dealing with a growing shortage of skilled workers, particularly foreman jobs and other construction jobs. Welders for example are in high demand and are commanding increased leverage in compensation negotiations. Due to a scarcity of workers with the necessary skills, commercial contractors are finding it difficult to meet project demand. Addressing this issue is critical, and we will look at strategies that commercial contractors can use to combat the skilled trades shortage in this article.

What Are The Root Causes of the Skilled Trades Shortage?

The skilled trades shortage has several root causes. The aging workforce is one, as the baby boomer generation retires and leaves a void that must be filled. Another issue is a lack of interest among young people in entering the skilled trades, which many see as a less desirable career path. Societally, our nation has spent an entire generation driving young people toward four-year college to the detriment of skilled trade work. Furthermore, the number of skilled trades training programs available has decreased, making it more difficult for people to enter the industry.

What Strategies Commercial Contractors Are Implementing?

Commercial contractors can use a variety of strategies to address the skilled trades shortage.


One approach is of course to create training programs that would teach people the necessary skills. To offer these programs, commercial contractors can collaborate with local trade schools, vocational schools, or technical colleges.

Apprenticeships are another option for training and preparing people to enter the skilled trades. Commercial contractors can provide apprenticeships that include both on-the-job and classroom training.

Compensation and Benefits

Offering competitive wages and benefits is one of the most effective strategies for attracting and retaining workers. Commercial contractors should offer competitive wages as well as benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off. It is important that employers consult available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as local resources because wages expecations have been increasing rapidly and common wisdom may quickly become outdated. In today’s market it is critical to think beyond wages alone as workers are thoughtfully considering the full range of benefits from tangibles like vehicle allowances and healthcare to intangibles like company culture and work environment.

Recruiting Practices

Virtual reality and augmented reality are examples of technologies that can help improve productivity and efficiency in construction recruiting. Although they do not increase the overall size of the workforce, they can streamline processes and increase efficiency for individual recruiters, enabling them to screen and hire workers fast. Many contractors for example are using virtual welding tests to assess welder skill prior to bringing the worker on-site. Although not a replacement for actual in-person demonstrations, such techniques can save recruiters valuable time and money.


We must address the skilled trades shortage in order to meet project demand. Contractors can attract and retain skilled workers by implementing strategies such as developing training programs, promoting apprenticeships, offering competitive wages and benefits, utilizing technology, and collaborating with local organizations. This results in a more skilled workforce for the construction industry.


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