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Addressing The Workforce Shortage In The Construction Industry: A Vision

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.82.1 - 5.82.6



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Paper Authors

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Rex E. Ward

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Erdogan Sener

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session No. 1421

Addressing the Workforce Shortage in the Construction Industry: A Vision

Erdogan M. Sener, Rex E. Ward Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis/Ivy Tech State College Central Indiana


It is common knowledge, substantiated by diverse sources and statistics,1,2 that the construction industry is currently experiencing a workforce shortage that will get worse in the coming years unless something is done about it and done soon. Even though the shortage will be felt in different ways, there is almost unanimous agreement that all the industry and country will be affected one way or other.

Various workforce organizations, such as AGC (Associated general Contractors), ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors), and other owner and/or contractor associations have started discussing the issue trying to come up with solutions. In line with the limited mission of these organizations, however, the measures being foreseen to overcome the shortage tend to concentrate on certain segments of the construction workforce rather than the whole. Some organizations are approaching the problem from the point of view of shortage of crafts or trades people such as electricians, framers, masons, etc., while others are approaching it from the point of view of technical or managerial personnel. Suggested measures for easing the shortage seem to exhibit polarity of workforce organizations in terms of being union or merit shop also.

The Need

Firstly, notwithstanding where the shortage seems to be at this point in time, it is the authors’ belief that the issue should not be confined to the shortage of the workforce in specific segments of the industry only. The Indiana Career Cluster Guide2 is a listing of 14 career clusters that provides actual numbers of labor force supply and demand specific to Indiana career clusters. This document indicates a supply and demand gap of over 44,000 skilled trade workers needed to fulfill the market need in Indiana by the year 2005. Even though this document does not provide data for the balance of the construction workforce, it is only logical to foresee that the gap demonstrated by the data on the skilled trades component of the workforce will hold true for the balance of the employment categories in the industry also. Consequently, the shortage needs to be looked at from the perspective of the total workforce in the construction industry including the management, technical people, and the trades. Secondly, the issue should be addressed in such a way so that it is not influenced by the inherent difference in thinking between union and non-union workforce organizations.

Ward, R. E., & Sener, E. (2000, June), Addressing The Workforce Shortage In The Construction Industry: A Vision Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8159

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