Construction workforce challenges and solutions: A national study of the roofing sector in the United States

Hasini Hiranya Delvinne, Kristen Hurtado, Jake Smithwick, Brian Lines, Kenneth Sullivan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Construction workforce shortage is a well-documented issue facing the built environment. Rapid rise in the number of projects, and the shortage of skilled workers are primary drivers of construction workforce shortages. Despite being less documented, the roofing industry has not been immune these challenges. In this study, current workforce challenges in the roofing industry were examined. This entailed: quantifying skilled and unskilled labor shortages, examining impacts at national and regional scales, as well as identifying potential solutions. A survey methodology was adopted to collect data from roofing contractors across the United States (n=405). Groups for regional analyses were defined based on the four census region used by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This study suggested that labor shortages in the roofing industry are more severe than previously established. Across the United States, 90% of roofing contractors had faced labor shortages over the past year, with the West being the most severely affected. There is a shortage of both skilled and unskilled workers, and the former was more significant across all regions. Among the impacts of labor shortages, increased cost was the most dominant at both national and regional scales. The South had the highest level of subcontracting out work, and the West the lowest. Other dominant impacts included: project overruns, reduced quality of work, increased employee turnover, slowdown in business growth, etc. Attempted solutions were: wage adjustments, enhanced benefits, policy reforms, training, etc. These results merit detailed industry specific workforce studies to explore relationships with demographic and market variables. Our findings suggest that workforce challenges require strategic organizational adaption tailored to regional roofing markets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConstruction Research Congress 2020
Subtitle of host publicationSafety, Workforce, and Education - Selected Papers from the Construction Research Congress 2020
EditorsMounir El Asmar, David Grau, Pingbo Tang
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Pages529-537
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780784482872
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
EventConstruction Research Congress 2020: Safety, Workforce, and Education - Tempe, United States
Duration: Mar 8 2020Mar 10 2020

Publication series

NameConstruction Research Congress 2020: Safety, Workforce, and Education - Selected Papers from the Construction Research Congress 2020

Conference

ConferenceConstruction Research Congress 2020: Safety, Workforce, and Education
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityTempe
Period3/8/203/10/20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction

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