Trends in the Construction Industry

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Thoughts on the construction industry and how things have changed in the last 5 to 7 years

Between 2005 and 2007 the construction industry was booming. Retail was strong among big box retailers like Home Depot and Walmart. The building of high-rise, multi-family units was also strong. There were so many construction projects that it was difficult to find enough workers for each job.

In 2008, when the recession and credit crisis occurred, the construction industry basically fell off a cliff. Billions of dollars' worth of construction was lost as financing dried up and huge projects sat. The only construction that remained steady were government projects such as water and waste, roads and bridges and military development, because they had the necessary funding.

Now post-recession, we are seeing some good signs of recovery. Things are slowly getting better and there is more confidence in the market. The strongest areas are in retail, hospitality and multi-family building construction.

How are things different for construction workers and employers in this industry?

The profits on construction are now very tight, so projects have to be completed with less people. Workers are responsible for a lot more than before and they are expected to be specialists in their designated area of expertise. There is also a shortage of good candidates, because many people left the industry during the recession. The available talent pool is very weak since the best workers are typically already employed. The industry is rebounding, but in order for companies to grow and take advantage of the recovery, they have to be more aggressive in attracting candidates that are already working. They can accomplish this by investing in industry networking or hiring outside search firms that specialize in their industry and have relationships with the top candidates.

Brian Binke, President/CEO of The Birmingham Group, an affiliate of MRINetwork, one of the world’s largest executive search and recruitment organizations
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