Concrete Products

APR 2019

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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26 • April 2019 NEWS SCOPE MARKETS Surveys behind the Q1 2019 USG + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Com- mercial Construction Index find that the labor shortage continues to pose major challenges to the industry, causing contractors to ask skilled workers to do more work (81 percent of respondents), strug- gle to meet deadlines (70 percent), increase costs for new work (63 percent), and reject new projects (40 percent). As the industry fights to solve the labor shortage, the latest survey suggests a contributing factor could be young workers' negative per- ceptions of construction careers, leading to fewer candidates entering the labor pool. When asked about the biggest myths surrounding commercial work, contractors cited the perception of "dirty" jobs (61 percent); tasks requiring only brute strength (55 percent); and, construction representing a "job" versus career (52 percent). Yet, contractors note good pay, opportunities for advancement, and the ability to learn new skills on the job as the best reasons to pursue a career in construction. "It is important for construction leaders to consider how we can shift the perception of the industry and increase the number of young workers who want to work in the trades," says USG CEO Jennifer Scanlon, chief executive officer of Chicago-based USG Corp. "Reten- tion will be particularly important to meet infrastructure demands, as well as a continued focus on innovative processes and technology on the jobsite." Contractors agree that the best way to increase the skilled work- force in U.S. construction is to boost technical school enrollment and vocational training. A better reputation for compensation, appren- ticeship programs and opportunities for advancement were also cited among Q1 2019 Commercial Construction Index survey participants as ways to recruit more workers, particularly those under the age of 30. To retain employees, 55 percent of contractors believe there should be more opportunities for advancement, in addition to increased employee engagement and more on-the-job training. The growing role of technology on the jobsite was also cited as a means to attract the next generation of workers to the construction workforce. Sustained workforce imbalances evident in commercial project index

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