The Shortage Continues

Laura M. Porinchak / November 2018

Throughout this year we have been talking to AWCI member contractors about their business situations. In the May issue we learned that business in the northern portion of the United States is healthy, but the June issue showed the South could use a little more work. Things in the East, as presented in our August issue, were a little behind the South in that backlogs and rising material prices were having an effect on business. Then we looked West in our October issue, and boom! Nothing but good news (except for the pesky labor shortage experienced by the majority of those we interviewed).
    
We wrap up our series by looking north of the border into Canada. The article that begins on page 52, has Canadian contractors telling us that the labor shortage isn’t much of a problem there—because there isn’t nearly as much work as there is in the United States. Sorry to end on such a down note, but is there an upside? Maybe? Should contractors look at ways to lure Canadian workers to help complete the jobs we have here, at least on a temporary basis? It’s something to think about.
    
This issue also looks into the future, with a focus on augmented reality and how it will become more prominent on job sites—but not anytime soon. The technology is still developing, but some AWCI member contractors have taken the lead and are already using it in ways that would make George Jetson proud. Go to page 36 to find out what they’re doing, and how to prepare.
    
Our third feature, which starts on page 44, is about the importance of keeping everyone happy, which will keep the momentum on the job going. When momentum comes to a grinding halt, so does worker morale. The two go hand-in-hand. In this article, our author relays ways to keep the job moving forward and various ways to make progress a reality every day.
    
Along similar lines is the Supervision column by Norb Slowikowski on page 25. Norb understands what you’re going through when it comes to attracting and retaining skilled workers, and this month he offers ways to do just that by setting up a development plan for your employees.
    
After attending AWCI’s fall conference last month and talking with many contractor members of AWCI, I realize that the labor shortage is not going to be resolved anytime soon. I think you realize the same thing. If it’s not skilled labor, it’s a skilled estimator you’re looking for. Both the field and the office are affected. I don’t want to beat this subject into the ground, but I’m going to say again that this isn’t going to end anytime soon. Therefore, if you have some ideas, please send them our way. The same goes for questions. I/We may not have the answers, but you may spark an idea for a future article in this magazine. Let me hear from you! Email me at porinchak@awci.org. I look forward to hearing from you.