Friday, January 8, 2021

Women Are the Answer to Off-Site Construction's Skilled Labor Shortage

The construction industry in the US is facing a shortage of skilled trade laborers but many off-site housing factories are overlooking the opportunity women can bring to the table. 

The current skilled labor shortage is due to several factors, including the emphasis on getting a four-year college degree and an increasing number of retiring Baby Boomers. Modular and other off-site housing manufacturers are having an especially hard time finding skilled labor.

Modular factories have an especially hard time finding and keeping young people wanting to do woodworking, plumbing and electrical work. Many factories have older workforces and more skilled trade veterans that are retiring and without young people replacing them the factory’s future is at stake..

The shortage of skilled trade labor has pushed up wages in these occupations. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual earnings for skilled wage occupations is $47,428, nearly 20% higher than that across all workers.

Women held 50 percent of American jobs in 2019, and yet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 2 percent of the skilled construction labor force are women. That is actually up from eight years ago when only 0.6 percent of the skilled workforce was female.

Factory owners and GMs looking for more output have not been able to add second shifts to boost production and with housing running strong and modular factories looking for skilled labor to meet that demand, it could be the perfect time to invite women to look at the skilled labor positions in our factories. 

Offering women the training, either at the factory level or at a trade school, to get a skilled job in your modular factory could definitely be the win/win situation both need today. 

If there is a trade school near your factory, check them out and offer apprenticeships. If there aren’t any private trade schools, start your own apprenticeship program. But whatever you decide to try, remember, doing nothing means is just a few short years you may be wondering where your next plumber or finish carpenter will come from. Don’t let the woman you didn’t offer to teach a skilled trade be the difference between your success and failure.

Gary Fleisher, the Modcoach, writes Modcoach News and Modular Home Coach blogs as well as the best site for off-site consultants, Modcoach Connects

Contact Gary at

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