Construction firms across the nation are struggling to find qualified workers

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Construction firms are struggling to find enough qualified workers to hire, according to a recent survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America.

“There is enough work, but there aren’t enough people to hire,” said Ken Simonson with the organization.

Daniel Reeves with Verde Builders Custom Homes started building homes around Austin in 2009.

“At that point, I didn’t have to schedule anybody. I could pick up the phone and anybody I called would jump off the couch and go to work,” Reeves said.

Planning ahead and scheduling a contractor are vital to making sure work gets done on time for Reeves.

“It is a completely different world today,” Reeves said. “We just have to schedule people a month in advance.”

Finding qualified workers is an issue nationwide, according to AGC.

“Ninety-one percent (of contractors) said they were having difficulty filling craft positions,” Simonson said. “That is hard hat workers you see on any construction site. Nearly as many, 87%,  said salaried workers were hard to find.”

Sixty-one percent of firms said their projects are being delayed because of workforce shortages. Simonson says that 88% of firms say they are experiencing project delays. Among these firms, 75% cite delays due to longer lead times or shortages of materials, while 57% cite delivery delays.

According to AGC, these challenging market conditions are a key reason why 26% of respondents expect it will take more than six months for their firm’s revenue to match or exceed year-earlier levels. And 17% are unsure when to expect a return to previous demand levels.

As a result of these shortages, almost one-third of firms report they have increased spending on training and professional development. Most firms, 73%, report they have increased base pay rates during the past year. And just over one-third of firms have also provided hiring bonuses or incentives during the past year.

More than 2,100 firms responded to AGC’s survey.

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