Pilot Study for Understanding a Contributing Factor for a Decrease in Skilled Construction Labor

Brent Buckner, MSCM
Fowler General Construction
Richland, WA

Bill Bender, PhD, PE, LEED AP
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

The construction industry has and will continue to see skilled labor shortages. The most critical shortage of staffing is at the building level, which is comprised of skilled construction craft workers. Societal pressures for higher education appear to exacerbate this shortage. To further understand the decrease of skilled construction labor, a pilot study of 53 high school students was conducted. The survey was conducted on 17 to 18-year-old students who will be graduating high school within the next one to two years. The results of the survey point to the societal view that higher education is of utmost importance to students and their families. Furthermore, the results showed that construction is not given positive consideration or seen as a valuable alternative to higher education. Parents and children deem the pursuit of higher education as the way to become financially successful and have a rewarding career.

Key Words: Work force development, Labor, Careers, Construction jobs

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