Red toolbox with the words Skilled Trades on top.

The Associated Equipment Distributors Foundation released a survey that expressed the impact of the shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry. Construction equipment dealers are noting that this shortage is directly impacting their bottom line. The survey indicated that the limitation could be costing 2.4 billion per year for full dealer memberships. Over 50% of those surveyed said that the struggle to find skilled workers in restricting growth and increasing costs to their companies.

The national average for the number of days a job remains open is 36.1 days. In contrast, dealers reported their positions remain open 76.4 days, with a few saying they have had positions open for a year or more.

So who’s to blame for this gap?

Surveyed dealers listed failures in the poor perception of vocational careers among the young, technical education system, and retiring Baby Boomers. While programs are in place to encourage interest within the younger generations, they have not been successful in helping young people to pursue a career in technological fields. Many high schools have phased out shop classes and parents increasingly have steered graduates to four-year colleges and white-collar careers.

The shortage of skills is deemed as one of the greatest economic challenges that Canada would face in the next decade.  Skills Canada has estimated that Canada would need about 1 million skilled trade workers by 2020 for all the projects planned.

In comparison with the national job opening rate of 3.7 percent, dealers have an 11.34% job listing rate, more than three times the nationwide average.

Some employers have taken on the job training to tackle this problem while others opt to hire candidates that lack the necessary skills then train them while they are working.  Employers that do on-the-job training have seen an increase in employee satisfaction and loyalty.