Thursday 1 December 2022
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New York State Struggling With Shortage of Skilled Construction Workers

Concept of construction and design. 3d render of blueprints andAccording to data from the Associated General Contractors of America, New York State is suffering from skilled worker shortages, particularly in the construction industry.

The survey revealed that 61% of New York contractors struggle to fill hourly craft jobs; 59% say that they have trouble filling superintendent positions, 40% admit to having a hard time hiring enough carpenters, and 26% can’t seem to find basic laborers.

Contractors are blaming a major skills gap for the shortage of experienced workers. They say that local pipelines supplying well-trained personnel are in fair to poor condition.

Some contractors are already offering higher wages in addition to other benefits in an effort to attract skilled employees. Unfortunately, this strategy, in conjunction with the state government’s push for use of union labor, has had little bearing on reversing the labor drought.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has offered support for union labor and increased wages for laborers during discussions about reviving a tax abatement program for real estate developers who set aside a certain percentage of their projects for affordable housing.

“We’re an open shop contractor but we also employ union subcontracts on our projects, and it’s really not the issue whether it’s union or open shop,” said Scott Clark of the R.W. Allen construction firm. “It’s the issue of the bodies that are in place to construct the buildings. And as we sit here today in our region the unions are having the same problems as the open-shop (subcontractors) are with manpower issues.”

The future looks bleak according to the survey, as 41% of contractors replied that they believe it will only become more challenging to hire hourly craft personnel over the next 12 months.

The construction sector in New York State is not the only industry experiencing staffing issues. Studies show that a whole 57% of organizations in the U.S. view employee retention as a problem.