Problems in the Construction Industry

Topics: Global warming, Construction, Immigration Pages: 5 (1599 words) Published: December 5, 2012
Current Problems and Issues Faced in The Construction Industry

It is quite obvious that the Construction industry is one of the most important industries in the world. Because of construction, we all live in homes, apartments, condominiums, and other living places that were created by construction. Most jobs are in buildings, which were also created by construction. Basically, the entire structural part of society was created by hard working construction workers. To give you a general idea of why the Construction industry is so important as a market, the annual construction spending internationally is estimated to be $2.3 trillion of which $1.2 trillion was spent in the US alone in 2006 and 2007. The construction industry does not consist of just ditch digging and roofing and only labor jobs, but also has many scientific parts such as structural engineering, electrical work, and other design careers. That being said, there are still many problems faced in the construction industry. (Russell, Seasonality in construction) Some of them include: Lack of training and experience, immigrant workers, Global Climate Change, Aging Infrastructure, shrinkage in the workforce and a decline in Construction productivity. Shrinking workforce

This graph shows the results of a survey of 826 employers asking how much education they had received. For the non design and structural engineering jobs, experience is valued more than a college degree. This is because a specific worker would have one specific trade. Some examples would be roofing, framing, heavy equipment operator etc (Castaneda, Workers Skills). The more experienced the worker is, the more valued he or she is. The chart to the left shows the percentages of the construction workforce that each position makes up. 70% make up craftsmen, or those who have a focus on one aspect that they have mastered in the industry. Charts from (Castaneda, Workers Skills)

Position and average number of years experience:
* Apprentice/helper 6
* Craftsmen 16
* Foremen 21
* General foremen 20
* Assistant superintendents and higher 24
These numbers surprised me. Why does a craftsman have 16 years of experience? And an apprentice has 6 years? Those numbers seemed high so after further research I found that these numbers were so high because new workers are not going in to the field of construction. In today’s world, everyone makes it sound absolutely necessary to get a college degree. Most people think that since construction involves manual labor, only dropouts and people who didn’t go to college should work it. Why would you get a college degree and go into a field of work that you do not need a degree in? That would make college a waste of time and money. When asked about the lack of workers in the industry, Tom Mangan, who is a foreman to a custom home building company in Charleston responded, “The kids that get out of college think that they are entitled to be making six figures a few years out of college, they need to have a reality check and realize that the only way that could happen is with experience.” He also told me that their average worker had been working with them for 10 years. “That makes the construction industry a career, not a job” (Mangan, Personal Interview). Illegal Immigrant workers

A large contributor to the construction industry workforce is foreign immigrants. They make up almost a fourth of the labor force in construction. According to the US Census Bureau, in March 2006, almost 24 percent of all construction workers in the United States of America were foreign born. The majority of these immigrant construction workers are Hispanic. Also many U.S.-born Hispanics work in the construction industry. This is not the problem though. Immigration is legal when done correctly. The problem lies in the illegal immigrants who are here illegally. Not only is that illegal, but some people take advantage of their illegal status. They will pay the illegal...

Cited: Artigues, Guy. Personal Interview. 09 November 2012
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Castaneda, J. A., Tucker, R. L., & Haas, C. T. (2005). Workers’ Skills and Receptiveness to Operate Under the Tier II Construction Management Strategy. Journal Of Construction Engineering & Management, 131(7), 799-807. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9364(2005)131:7(799)
Foster, H. G., & Strauss, G. (1972). Labor Problems in Construction: A Review. Industrial Relations, 11(3), 289-313.
Mangan, Tom. Personal interview. 10 November 2012.
Nissen, B., Angee, A., & Weinstein, M. (2008). Immigrant Construction Workers and Health and Safety. Labor Studies Journal, 33(1), 48-62.
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(Russell, Seasonality in construction)
Zeiss, G. (2007, September 5). Between the Poles: Worldwide Challenges Facing the Construction Industry. Between the Poles. Retrieved November 14, 2012, from
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