The Retirement Bubble is Growing

The youngest members of the baby boom generation are 56 years old in 2020. This means that over the next decade many of them will retire, taking with them the skills and knowledge they have developed over a lifetime. Meanwhile the generations following are not expressing interest in or being exposed to hands-on careers. This means fewer and fewer hands-on workers over the next decade. This diminishing labor pool will impact the entire industry, here is some of the latest news on what this looks like in construction.

Canada’s Construction Shortage

In Canada, more than 250,000 construction workers are expected to retire over the next decade. This is complicated by the negative image of construction jobs as entry level, low-paying jobs that don’t lead to strong, livable careers. To combat the lack of interest in the trades by younger generations, the Ottawa area has developed a Power of Trades program, which offers pre-employment training and support for immigrants who want to work in the skilled trades.

United States Shortage Impacting Business

In the United States, 1/3 of construction contractors are forced to turn down work because they don’t have the labor force to do the work. This is especially felt in the larger, more complex jobs that required a pool of skilled workers.

“A major change is that you don’t have nearly the immigrant and undocumented immigrant labor force that you had before the Great Recession, which could be permanent,” — Michigan State University Human Resources and Labor Relations professor Dale Belman

Succession Planning a Part of the Solution

While bringing in new pools of unskilled labor is one solution, succession planning is also an important part of growing lifelong trade careers. Individuals may not want to work the hardest, lowest paying jobs all their lives, but may be willing to dedicate several years to these jobs if the reward of higher paying, more comfortable jobs down the road is offered. The key is to highlight career potentials when recruiting candidates. Developing career pathways within a company can also be a great tool for engaging and retaining workforce.