Nearly 90 percent of Wisconsin construction firms expect to hire in 2018

Workforce shortages continue to be a top concern

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:57 am

Eighty-eight percent of Wisconsin construction firms expect to expand their payrolls in 2018, although many companies are worried about workforce shortages, according to the latest survey from the Associated General Contractors of America.

Contractors are optimistic that economic conditions will remain strong as tax rates and regulatory burdens fall, according to survey results.

“Construction firms appear to be very optimistic about 2018 as they expect demand for all types of construction services to continue to expand,” said Stephen Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “This optimism is likely based on current economic conditions, an increasingly business-friendly regulatory environment and expectations the Trump administration will boost infrastructure investments.”

In Wisconsin, 44 percent of respondents said they expect to increase their headcount between one and 10 people; 33 percent of respondents said they plan to add 11 to 25 people and 11 percent of respondents said they plan to add 25 or more people to their company in 2018.

Of those who responded, 52 percent currently employ 100 to 499 people and 38 percent currently employ 20 to 99 people.

Fifty-six percent of Wisconsin respondents said it would continue to be difficult to hire qualified construction professionals over the next 12 months. Forty percent of firms said worker shortages is the biggest concern their company faces.

Fifty percent of Wisconsin firms increased their base pay in 2017 to retain or recruit workers and 28 percent paid more overtime.

Nationwide, 75 percent of construction firms plan to expand their workforce in 2018, up slightly from 73 percent in 2017. Most of the hiring will only expand headcounts by a slight percentage (10 percent or less) per firm, however.

Broken down by market segment, contractors nationwide are most optimistic about the private office market segment. This is followed by the other transportation and retail, warehouse and lodging.

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