YOUR BUSINESS AUTHORITY

Springfield, MO

Report: State has shortage of construction workers, despite higher salaries

Posted online

The Associated General Contractors of Missouri yesterday revealed workforce survey data showing a shortage of construction workers statewide, despite relatively high salaries.

Speaking from Ozarks Technical Community College, AGC President Leonard Toenjes pointed to survey results indicating construction workers contribute $11 billion, or 3.7 percent, to Missouri’s $301 billion gross domestic product. The occupation employs 118,700 Missourians and offers wages that are 20 percent higher than the average of $56,000 in Missouri. Employment opportunities in the industry are projected to grow by 10 percent 2014-2024.

Despite this, Toenjes said the industry is experiencing a lack of workers.

“These all require skilled staff people and we really need people coming into the industry right now,” he said.

According to the survey, Missouri housed 13,000 construction firms in 2015, of which 91 percent employed less than 20 workers. Toenjes said, because of retirements, demographics and the 2008 economic downturn, a shortage of construction workers “has reached critical levels in Missouri and throughout the country.”

Seventy-one percent of Missouri contractors have difficulty filling hourly jobs, 20 percent say the same of salaried field positions and 41 say the same of salaried office jobs, according to the survey.

Justin Frese, OTC construction technology instructor, said he’s personally witnessed the worker shortage, as contractors seeking employees often contact him.

The problem isn’t just limited to Missouri, however, Frese said. According to AGC data, 92 percent of construction firms in the United States reported employing fewer than 20 workers. In fact, a Los Angeles, California, company recently contacted Frese looking for employees among OTC’s graduates.

“It’s that bad, folks, and there are not enough people to go around,” he said.

In an attempt to remedy this shortage, OTC will offer an AGC of Missouri student chapter, allowing them to get on-the-job experience.

“It’s a little more than what they see in the classroom,” Frese said.

He said the program will begin immediately, matching students with local contractors – of which he did not provide names – that students will shadow. Frese said several students have already expressed interest.

According to the AGC of America website, there are more than 170 student chapters nationwide, partnering with schools offering programs in construction management, construction technology and construction-related engineering.

Ultimately, Frese said this program is a hiring process – connecting students with the industry outside the classroom so they can see firsthand the opportunities for job growth.

“It’s more exposure to general contractors,” OTC Provost and Vice Chancellor Tracy McGrady added.

Comments

No comments on this story |
Please log in to add your comment
Editors' Pick

From the Ground Up: Culver’s

Springfield’s third Culver’s restaurant is underway at 1400 E. Sunshine St.

Most Read
SBJ Live logo
MOST-WATCHED VIDEOS
Four Tips for Better Product Labels

Not all labels are created equal. Natalie Menzies-Spradlin with Ample Industries gives you four things to think about to make sure your labels are durable, cost effective and meet your product …

Living Quote - Reach for the Stars “My dad encouraged me and told me to continue my education, no matter how hard it is, and now I’m a year into my doctorate degree.” says Melissa Sorah, who works in sales at Youngblood Nissan. …
Networking? Always Follow Up. “I think networking has been key too the core success I’ve had,” says Bruce Nasby, President of Global Advisory Associates. Nasby recommends sending an email specifically detailing who you are, …
Booked - Passion and Perseverance “Being in higher education, we kind of devour books,” says Carol Taylor, President of Evangel University. She recommends Angela Duckworth’s “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.” …
Learn Something about Everything “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something,” says Larissa Warren, an associate with Husch Blackwell and one of Springfield Business Journal’s Trusted Advisers for …