CHICAGO, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- U.S. construction firms are stepping up efforts to expand headcount in 2019, but skilled labor shortage is likely to loom in the sector.
According to a survey jointly released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and Sage Construction and Real Estate on Wednesday, 79 percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2019 to keep pace with growing demand, while 78 percent report they are having a hard time filling salaried and hourly craft positions.
"Construction executives appear to remain confident about their market prospects for 2019 and plan to add headcount to cope with the added workload," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. "Even as they are optimistic about growing demand, contractors are concerned about finding qualified workers to execute projects."
In response to labor shortage, firms continue to raise pay and provide bonuses and benefits in a bid to attract more qualified workers, with 59 percent of firms reporting they increased base pay rates, 29 percent providing incentives and/or bonuses, and 24 percent of firms improving employee benefits.
Besides, many firms plan to invest more in training programs for current and new workers. And 63 percent of firms report such plans, up from 52 percent registered at the beginning of 2018.