Construction Industry Forecast & Hiring In 2022
As we move into 2022, construction firms are faced with many issues including inflation, supply chain, labor shortages and more. Some would see these challenges as indicators of a relatively flat year for growth in construction, however, looking even further ahead into the second half of 2022, these barriers and obstacles will begin to subside and construction will begin to grow substantially. Here are my thoughts on the current state of the construction industry and what this will mean for hiring in 2022 and the forecast for the industry moving into 2023.
Construction Demand Grows in 2022
In 2022, residential construction will continue to grow as housing inventory remains low and demand for home purchasing and remodeling rises. Commercial construction will increase, thought not at the same blistering pace compared to residential in 2022, as retailers, restaurants, and office workspaces begin to think about a post-pandemic world and transition. While inflation is keeping material costs high, construction firms are continuing to bid for projects and work by presenting the option to “lock-in costs and materials at today’s rates” in bids or offering to begin construction towards the end of 2022 – when labor and material costs are predicted to normalize. In the public sector, a second round of funding from the American Rescue Plan approved last March will generate more demand in construction for specific infrastructure projects such as utilities.
As construction companies continue to build up their project pipeline, they will need to plan for hiring and scaling their labor and teams. While these bids and projects are months away from commencing, construction companies must begin attracting, engaging, and pursuing talent today in order to prepare for an influx of work in the second half of 2022.
Inflation & Supply Chain
In 2021, construction firms became more transparent with clients and elevated the conversation surrounding supply chain, inflation and material costs to the stakeholder and ownership level. This transparency was met with understanding, as every industry has suffered the effects of supply chain and inflation issues, which allowed construction firms to get more creative during contract negotiations for timelines, sourcing, materials selection and funding.
As inflation and supply chain issues continue to drive the cost of materials, food, and resources up, this will push more individuals to return to the workforce to offset the rising cost of living. The gradual return to work, while not even close to matching pre-pandemic labor shortages, will make the pressures of finding and hiring labor less of a burden for construction firms. With inflation anticipated to begin to level out towards the middle of 2022 – this will drive the cost of materials down compared to 2021, increasing margins and allowing construction firms to resume or begin projects placed on hold due to prohibitive costs. Towards the end of 2022 and into 2023 supply chain issues will be less of an issue and will increase productivity and supplies of materials will return to normal.
The Labor Shortages
With the cost of higher education continuing to rise and the pandemic eliminating the allure of an on-campus college experience, younger generations are turning more to technical and trade schools. With debt incurred being a fraction of the cost of college tuition and virtually zero barriers to entering the workforce, Gen Z has gravitated to a career in trades. While this shift is happening today, the impact on the labor shortage will not be felt until 2030 or 2040 as more skilled labor slowly enters the workforce and offsets this shortage.
With the labor shortage still an issue today, companies will need to get very creative with retaining their existing workforce and teams. While projects are placed on hold due to inflation, supply chain or new variants, companies will need to retain their current employees and dissuade them from seeking work and wages elsewhere. Construction firms can combat this by offering upskilling and training programs to existing teams to grow their skill sets, educate them on other areas of construction and keep them engaged during slower periods. The added employee benefit of education, training and upskilling can be used to prevent workers from seeking employment and jobs elsewhere.
Mergers And Acquisitions Will Continue.
Mergers and acquisitions between construction firms and even tech companies will continue to consolidate competition within the industry. As a result, many personnel changes will happen for back-office and management teams. Some roles and responsibilities will be made redundant as organizations blend together and restructure their teams and reporting. These changes will impact many different levels of management for construction firms.
This means that more skilled back-office employees and talent from Estimators and Project Managers to senior-level executives will become available to hire and will be looking for new opportunities.
New Tech Adoption
In the last two years, every industry was forced to digitize their processes, operations and collaboration to remain productive and solvent. In construction, this adoption of technology has created a stronger demand for cloud-based construction management and planning platforms that connect field, office and subcontractor teams more deeply. In 2022, we will continue to see more construction companies centralize these digital tools and platforms to improve processes, minimize cost, increase efficiency and drive connected collaboration.
From a hiring perspective, the global trend of moving towards a more integrated and connected construction firm between all touchpoints in the build process can be used as a tool for talent attraction. Candidates and employees in the field and office are looking to work for forward-thinking construction companies that embrace technology and are adapting to a post-covid world using these platforms and tools. For example, a Project Manager or Estimator at a smaller construction company without these resources can be persuaded to apply for a role at a larger company with access to these platforms and tools.
In conclusion, the second half of 2022 will see an increase in growth and demand for construction as economic pressures begin to ease and companies more confidently navigate the tail end of the pandemic. As a result, hiring, recruiting and workforce planning at every level will increase significantly as construction prepares for an influx of pipelined projects, the slowing of inflation, and a return to normalcy in the supply chain. The best way to prepare for scaling your team and workforce in the coming months is to start your planning, hiring, and recruiting strategy today.
About The Author.
Jeff Raymond (email@example.com) President and Founder of Raymond Search Group (RaymondSearchGroup.com) is an industry leading recruiter specializing in Construction and Real Estate, Engineering, Architecture, HVACR/R, Building Automation Systems, MEPF, and Manufacturing. Jeff is known for delivering the top 5% of industry talent to his clients with an unrivaled efficiency and network. Clients and candidates alike rely on Jeff as a trusted advisor through his recruiting expertise, and industry insight.
Jeff earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Management and Operations from University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is experienced in the construction industry and is Procore certified in multiple areas. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute, ASHRAE, the Institute of Refrigeration (IOR), and The OSHA Education Center Association.