I read an intriguing story in a Builder Magazine newsletter last week about the 6 myths or fallacies that they believe are holding back residential home building. The authors cited the fact that about 3.5 million kids graduate from high school each year and about 500k of them never enroll in a degree granting school after graduating from high school and another 500k kids each year don’t complete a degree program of any type. Thus, there are about 1 million young adults each year who could enter the construction industry who haven’t attended college or completed any type of degree. Thus, there should not be a shortage of skilled workers.
So, what are their solutions? First, hire more women as currently only 4% of construction and trade labor jobs are being done by women. Second, builders need to invest in productivity and process and thus automate construction or do more prefab construction. Third, most importantly, the construction industry faces a MARKETING issue and they need to attract more young adults into construction trades.
I agree with all 3 points especially the last one; but I believe the last issue on marketing is a much bigger societal issue. We need our high schools to start vocational or trades training again. Second, we shouldn’t look down upon blue collar workers as a society. Further, what was the last TV show that showed a blue collar worker in a positive light? I often ask this question during my Bubble class and the #1 answer everyone comes up with is Home Improvement from the 90’s. That’s from over 20 years ago and my kids who are 13 and 17 have never seen this show.