Shortage of Skilled Employees in Green Building Industry

Skilled green workers in the construction industry in demand, but there are too few people with those skills, say 86% of architects and engineers and 91% of contractors, in a McGraw-Hill Construction study.

As a result of the economic downturn, an aging workforce and an insufficient pipeline of younger workers, the construction industry generally has a shortage of skilled workers.

The study shows that 69% of architect, engineer, and contractor (AEC) professionals expect skilled workforce shortages in next three years; 32% are concerned about a shortage of specialty trade contractors by 2014; 49% of general contractors are concerned about finding skilled craft workers by 2017, and 37% of architect and engineering firms are concerned about finding experienced workers.

The rise in green building training and professional certifications is viewed as an important way to attract younger professionals and craftspeople into the field and make companies more competitive.

62% of trade firms and 42% of architects are concerned their profession doesn’t appeal to the younger generation. But the younger generation reports a strong commitment to sustainability, with 63% of architecture students saying they would engage in sustainable design out of personal responsibility. This suggests that as green rises, so too may interest by young professionals in the design and construction fields of practice.

35% of architects, engineers and contractors report having green jobs today, representing nearly 650,000 jobs. That share is expected to increase over the next three years, with 45% of all design and construction jobs being green by 2014.

McGraw-Hill Construction defines "green jobs" as those involving more than 50% of work on LEED projects (or another credible green building certification).

The survey also demonstrates that by requiring professional certifications of employees for different skills, firms are more apt to maintain a competitive advantage while also benefiting individual workers.  71% of firms find that having certified employees increases their competitiveness in winning contracts; 68% believe certified employees help them grow their green business; 77% of individuals feel certification helps them gain valuable knowledge they can use on the job, and 75% believe it brings them more job opportunities, which are key in this time of high unemployment.

Here’s the study, "Construction Industry Workforce Shortages: Role of Certification, Training and Green Jobs in Filling the Gaps:"

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