The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) recently projected that there will be a brisk nationwide recovery for the construction industry in 2015. This resurgence will affect all types of building projects from pipelines to office buildings, from residential expansion to manufacturing. Private nonresidential construction spending is expected to outperform spending for public nonresidential spending.
This outlook is supported by a recent survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Out of 900 construction firms that responded in 48 states and the District of Columbia, 80 percent expect to expand their workforce in 2015. Only 7 percent reported an expected decrease. The expansion outlook is consistent with predictions for the construction industry in Kansas.
AGC construction outlook for Kansas in 2015
Twenty Kansas construction firms responded to the AGC survey. More than 80 percent of them said they expect their businesses to expand and that they will need up to 25 percent more employees in 2015 than in the previous year. Only 7 percent of survey responders said they did not expect to hire more workers in 2015, while 13 percent reported they had a need for more than 25 new workers. Forty percent will need to hire one to five workers, with 27 percent needing 6 to 15 more workers.
One concern of 40 percent of contractors is that it will continue to be difficult for them to find qualified construction professionals and craft workers. Among the craft workers for whom there is the greatest need are welders. A full 100 percent of Kansas contractors agreed that they need more applicants in that specialty.
What this means for hiring in Kansas
There are some problems with retaining skilled craft workers, including welders, in Kansas. One problem, in addition to the increase in construction work that may inspire workers to leave one company for a better-paying job, is that many workers are reaching retirement age. Another facet is that other skilled workers are leaving to work exclusively on oil and pipeline projects or wind farms.
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This is good news for construction workers in all specialty fields, especially welders who are in short supply. Employers are offering incentives and extra benefits in order to attract and retain qualified workers. Contractors in Kansas said they are already paying more in order to keep their workers. This makes employment in Kansas for a welder or a welding inspector particularly attractive.
AGC calls for increase in technical education
Based on the survey, Ken Simonson, the chief economist for the AGC stated that one of the reasons there is a shortage of craft workers in general is there has been a move away from teaching technical skills during the “past few decades.” He believes there is a great need for the federal government to increase funding for welding students to obtain the vocational training needed to fill the need for skilled craft workers in the construction industry.
The dire need for skilled labor is especially obvious as 70 percent of the surveyed construction firms stated that they expected worker shortages to remain steady or get worse over the next year. One hundred percent of Kansas contractors who responded to the AGC survey said they are interested in federal legislation that would help prepare “the next generation of skilled construction workers.” As previously noted, Kansas lists welders among those construction workers for whom it has the greatest need.
Welding training starts at Tulsa Welding School
TWS offers welding training that prepares students to obtain the skills and expertise needed to qualify for the welding positions that Kansas contractors and those in many other states are seeking to fill. If you are interested in starting welding training, contact TWS today.