Insight into Atlanta’s Craft Labor Shortage

The SaportaReport, which provides insights on Atlanta from veteran journalists, posted an interesting article featuring guest columnist Kevin Kuntz. Kuntz is the president of the Southeast Division of McCarthy Building Co., Inc. and president of the Associated General Contractors of Georgia.  Kuntz’s article ‘Solving Atlanta’s craft labor shortage: Changing perceptions, continuing education” can be found here. Here are some takeaways from the article:

Did you know that Georgia has been ranked as the best state in the United States for doing business for five consecutive years? A large chunk of businesses are relocating to metro Atlanta to set up operations; however, there are 225,000 unfilled positions in Georgia. 53,000 of those are craft labor openings, per the Construction Labor Market Analyzer. Unfortunately, as Kuntz mentions, “if skilled trades and professions can’t keep up with employer demands, businesses will lose their appetite for developing in our city.”

One major issue is a lack of young professionals available to replace the ones aging out of the work force. For every four-and-a-half to five individuals who are retiring or leaving the industry, there is only one person trickling in. To stay competitive, thousands of new employees are needed. According to the article, young men and women do not see construction as a viable career path. The issue appears to be a misunderstanding of the various opportunities available in construction. Construction is not limited to hard labor. There are opportunities for individuals with minds made for engineering,  professionals with leadership skills made for project management, or those with a desire to be on a project site supervising the construction of a building. We know this as professionals who work in the industry, but it’s incredibly important that this is made known to young adults searching for a career path.

Importantly, the shortage of skilled laborers is really an opportunity to increase the amount of women in the industry. According to Kuntz, females only make up nine percent of the construction workforce. Less than three percent of those woman are in production roles. I found Kuntz’s take incredibly insightful:

“Recruiting more women to the construction industry can provide more diverse thinking that improves client service, as well as better reflect the communities for which we build. As we look for a solution to the industry’s labor shortage, we must empower women already in the construction industry to advocate for women entering the job market, showing that there is a place for them in our industry.”

Kuntz noted that the industry can only “do so much on its own.” He encourages those in young people’s lives such as parents, counselors, and educators, to really ‘plant the seeds’ so to speak. There are so many aspects of the industry that require various skills, trades, and passions. With the increase in development, especially in Georgia, going into the industry is one of the safest and wisest choices a young person could make.

Read more here.


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