Posted January 27, 2016 by & filed under General.

2016 is here. With a new year comes change, progress, improvements, and sometimes failures. Each year is sure to be different than the last and at the beginning of a new year, it’s prudent to try and look ahead to try and anticipate what will be occurring in your industry so that you can be prepared for what’s to come. In 2016, these are some of the trends that we feel all of us in construction need to be aware of.

Shortage of Trades People. Fortunately, projections for 2016 indicate a strong year for construction which means plentiful employment opportunities for workers. Unfortunately, that puts employers in a difficult position when taking on additional work. Typically, in the winter months, contractors have many workers laid off as the cold weather restricts work. As the temperatures rise, the workers go back to work to perform the jobs that were bid over the winter months. Due to plentiful opportunities this year, many contractors already seeing record backlogs and as they look for potential projects to bid, they are concerned with having enough manpower. It’s a double-edged sword, there is an abundance of potential work, but if there isn’t enough manpower to complete that work and it could be very costly to a contractor thus eroding potential profits. One of the side results is that contractors are not bidding projects because they simply can’t perform them, which in the world of supply and demand results in increased prices.

Resurgence of Vocational Schools. With the shortage of tradespeople, there seems to be a resurgence of vocational schools. Because many businesses are in need of skilled workers, vocational schools are becoming a more popular option. During the most recent economic downturn most high school students were driven to attending a two or four-year university.  The result of this was a record loss of tradespeople the likes of which have never before been seen in this country.  As this phenomenon becomes more understood vocational schools are rallying to try and educate students to the merits and rewarding careers that are available in the building trades. Hopefully this resurgence will help to build a new population of skilled trades workers for the manufacturing and construction industries.

Union labor vs. right-to-work states. Right-to-work laws were established to minimize the power of unions especially with regards to controlling the hourly wage and the benefit packages. Union labor rates have traditionally established the prevailing wage for both union members and nonunion workers in unionized sectors; research shows that both union and nonunion workers in right-to-work states have lower wages and benefits than similar workers in other states. In other research, it has been shown that wages in right-to-work states are 3.2 percent lower on average than wages in non-right-to-work states. It was also found that workers in right-to-work states are less likely to have health insurance and pension coverage covered by their employer.

If any of these 2016 trends are going to affect you and your industry, make sure you are prepared to handle them. You may have to go the extra mile to seek out employees that have the skills and qualities you need. Make sure that you are keeping up with your competitors by offering competitive salaries and benefits for your future employees. Make sure that you are staying ahead of your competitors by creating an aggressive recruitment program. Do your best to always stay up-to-date in all of the latest industry trends.