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Published by Edith Yanez in News · 13 October 2021
In this section we will review the situation of the construction industry on a weekly basis.
The demand for remodeling and new home construction services has increased considerably in recent years. Before the pandemic, there was an unmet demand for new homes that reached up to 2.5 million units. That means that 2.5 million consumers wanted to buy a home and there was no one to sell them. That number has multiplied during Covid-19. According to Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Mortgage Loan Corporation, in an analysis published in April 2021, 4 million new homes are needed to meet current demand.

At the same time, the construction industry is having serious difficulties in finding qualified labor. According to the Association of Builders and Contractors, construction companies will need to hire 430,000 workers in 2021 and 1 million more workers in the next two years. This without considering the increase in employment that is generated from President Biden's infrastructure plan.

Finding 1 million skilled workers presents a real challenge for employers. The industry does not appear to be attractive to young people, in April this year the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in October 2020, 62.7% of high school graduates whose ages ranged from 16 to 24, were enrolled in colleges or universities. In a survey conducted in 2016 by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to 2,001 young people ranging in age from 18 to 25, 74% of them knew in which area they wanted to work. Of that percentage, only 3% expressed interest in taking up a construction trade.

Other problems in the industry are the lack of training of new workers and the early retirement, which is, on average, 43 years of age. Many companies have implemented measures to incentivize workers, starting with increases in the value paid per hour, training (which is literally paying new employees to learn) and incentives to delay the retirement age. On the other hand, companies have also started investing large sums of money in technology and innovation in order to cover the positions that are still open. The use of drones and robots is becoming more and more common in the construction industry.

With huge unmet demand and a growing labor shortage, the construction industry faces a challenge that is hard to overcome, but as Albert Einstein once said, 'in the midst of difficulty lies opportunity', the shortage of workers creates a unique and, why not say it, historic opportunity for women to enter this industry that until a few years ago was reserved only for men. A golden opportunity for women to enter, grow and prosper, either as workers or as entrepreneurs. Now it remains to be seen if women will take advantage of it.

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