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Construction industry struggling to find qualified workers for jobs paying up to six figures

The construction industry plans to hire for well-paying jobs, but is struggling to find qualified workers. The construction industry could face a 1.5 million worker shortage by 2020. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The construction industry is experiencing explosive growth, yet it's struggling to find qualified workers for jobs paying up to six figures, Fox Business reported.

Why is this happening?

U.S. construction spending rose to an all-time high of $1.257 trillion in November, according to the Commerce Department. Meanwhile, the construction industry could face a 1.5 million worker shortage by 2020. And the shortage is happening in an industry that can offer the opportunity for a good living, experts told Fox Business.

“The general population doesn’t know how rewarding and profitable [construction jobs can be],” Stephen Mulva, director of the Construction Industry Institute, said. “Six-figure salaries are not uncommon.”

Which construction jobs pay that much?

Careers with well-paying salaries include welders, foremen, and some craft professionals, such as instrument techs and crane operators, Mulva said.

Experts said construction jobs might go unnoticed because they don't seem like a “glamorous” career to young people.

"Construction is not a sexy profession: We don't attract the younger workers like other professions do," Don Whyte, president of the National Center for Construction Education & Research, told Fox Business.

The Center is trying to change that perception by reaching out to the public, he added.

How much is the field growing?

U.S. Department of Labor figures released Friday show that 30,000 construction jobs were added last month, a significant chunk of the total 148,000 overall jobs created.

In addition, the newly approved tax reform bill is credited with an anticipated increase in hiring in the construction field. The Associated General Contractors of America released a new report that found 75 percent of contractors want to hire more people in 2018.

At the same time, 50 percent of the companies reported they are having trouble finding qualified employees for both craft and salaried work positions.

In 2018, the shortage of qualified workers is expected to continue, Fox Business reported. Fifty-three percent of companies surveyed by AGC expect to continue to struggle with finding qualified applicants in the coming year.

One last thing…
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