Labor Shortages in the Trades Industry


The stress of today’s labor shortages are felt across industries, and the roofing and home construction field is no different. In fact, the industry is currently facing a gap of half a million workers. The chasm between supply and demand continues to widen, and this will most likely continue as demand for home construction continues to outweigh the availability of skilled workers. This affects not only the industry at large and the professionals within it but also the quality of home construction projects and how fast homeowner needs are met.

About the Workforce Shortage 

The labor shortage currently burdening the roofing and home construction industry is multifaceted and has been building for years. Perhaps most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was a forceful catalyst in not just kinking the supply chain but also reframing how people think of work. More people than ever are now prioritizing flexible scheduling to help with work-life balance. On top of that, enrollment in vocational degree programs decreased during the shutdown in 2020, as most of that education is hands on and couldn’t translate to remote training like other fields and professions.

However, interest in the trades industry has been waning for the past several decades as more and more students have been encouraged to seek four-year degrees instead of a technical education. As a result of this push toward higher education, there have simply not been enough skilled workers to fill the positions available—particularly as retirement draws near for 1 in 4 construction workers.

This shortage of skilled workers in the roofing and construction industry affects both construction companies and their clients. Demand is still high for infrastructure, residential, and commercial needs, which strains companies that are already short-staffed. Home improvement projects, roofing installations, road repairs, energy facilities, and other infrastructure needs are taking longer to address and complete, as construction workers are stretched thinner and thinner.



The shortage of skilled roofers means customers may face longer wait times for roof installations and repairs. Though reputable companies like Hedrick Roofing are doing their best to maintain quality and timeliness, increased demand coupled with insufficient workers makes it difficult to complete projects as quickly as in the past. Customers may need to plan farther in advance and exercise greater patience during the roofing process. However, they can rest assured that their contractor will not cut corners or compromise on safety and workmanship. Open communication about revised timelines and managing expectations will help ease frustrations for both contractors and clients during this challenging period for the industry.


Bridging the Gap 

The industry is working to address this crucial labor shortage. Strategies for bridging this gap include apprenticeship programs, vocational training initiatives, and industry partnerships that attract and retain a new generation of skilled workers. Apprenticeship programs are nothing new to the trades, and they are a highly effective way to train construction workers on the job. Apprenticeships allow an interested job seeker who has little or no experience in the field to earn money while receiving training from a qualified and experienced professional. This allows new workers to acquire the skills they need to succeed in the field and helps construction companies recruit and retain quality employees while reducing lag time in project completion.

Other vocational training initiatives can help prepare students for careers in the skilled trades, giving students and entry-level workers essential skills and training. This includes high school programming, trade schools, and even vocational programming within the military.

Construction companies are also taking their own steps to attract and retain workers. Some are offering more robust benefits packages aimed at showing their commitment to their employees. Staffing initiatives might include incentives like access to childcare, upskilling or reskilling programs for current employees, and education assistance.


The Silver Lining 

A recent study from Thumbtack shows that 87% of skilled trade professionals say they’re happy in their jobs and would choose the same profession again if given the chance. Additionally, 73% of the young people surveyed say they respect the skilled trades as a career choice, and 47% said they were interested in pursuing the profession themselves.

While this is encouraging for the industry and the workforce at large, it is important to note that it’s critical to make progress now in bridging this growing gap between demand and skilled workers to ensure the continued growth and sustainability of the roofing and home construction sectors—for companies and clients alike.


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