Search form

The Aging Construction Industry: Keeping Skilled Employees Longer

By Courtney M. Malveaux, Richard F. Vitarelli and Lin J. Wagner
  • June 25, 2019

Workers in the construction industry tend to be older than those in other industries, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The median age of construction workers is 42 years old, a year older than the median in the national labor force. Further, the median age of workers in the industry is 44-45 years old in several U.S. states, including Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming.

The industry has found itself in a bind as the amount of work continues to grow while the construction industry’s workforce ages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2016 and 2026, the construction industry will see a projected growth of approximately 11 percent, or 747,600 jobs. Construction firms, however, are reporting difficulties in finding skilled labor to meet this growth.

A survey from the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate found that, while 79 percent of construction firms plan to expand their headcount in 2019, 78 percent of them have had difficulties in finding skilled labor. The construction industry may continue to struggle on this front, as trends suggest that millennials (i.e., those born between 1981 and 1996) are projected to make up 75 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2030, but millennials simply are not joining the industry.

This data suggests that it is not only imperative that employers understand the changing demographics and diversity of the workforce population (which will help in recruiting, training, and retaining new talent), but strategize on how to keep current workers in the industry longer. Employers who fail to address the latter run the risk of losing some of their most senior, skilled, and experienced employees sooner than necessary.

Employers may want to consider developing methods to mitigate risks to employees, to keep them healthy and active. Studies suggest that injuries to older workers, including simple sprains or strains, tend to be more costly for employers, as older workers often require greater recovery time. To reduce the likelihood of these injuries, and injuries to any worker, regardless of age, employers may find success in implementing rotating schedules, fitness programs, stretching routines, or safety programs to train workers on best practices. Employers also may want to consider developing disability prevention programs, and more robust disability management programs, to help assess and reduce potential hazards that may cause injury. Finally, ensure proper procedures are being followed to reintegrate employees into the workforce quickly and safely.

Please contact a Jackson Lewis attorney with any questions.

©2019 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

July 10, 2019

2019: The Mid-Year Outlook for Employers

July 10, 2019

The first six months of 2019 have proven to be busy, challenging professionals in the labor and employment communities to keep up with a number of newly enacted laws and regulations. In the 2019: Mid-Year Outlook for Employers, Jackson Lewis attorneys provide a snapshot of activity from the first half of the year as well as a preview of... Read More

July 10, 2019

New York Governor Signs Bills Aimed at Combating Salary Inequality

July 10, 2019

New York’s equal pay law prohibiting wage differentials based on protected class status was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on July 10, 2019. The new equal pay law will be effective on October 8, 2019. The Governor also signed into law a bar on employers inquiring about job applicants’ past salary history. The salary history law... Read More

July 10, 2019

New Oregon Law Restricts Nondisclosure, Nondisparagement Provisions in Workplace Agreements

July 10, 2019

A new Oregon law limits employers’ use of nondisclosure or nondisparagement agreements with their employees with respect to employment discrimination or sexual assault. The Workplace Protection Act (WPA), signed by Governor Kate Brown, also requires employers to adopt written anti-discrimination policies regarding internal employment... Read More