The Changing Demographic of America’s Construction Labor Workforce – What’s Next For Skilled Labor

Like many industries, construction is facing challenges related to filling the ranks in its workforce.  Hispanic construction workers are the primary demographic seen filling those gaps in the industry. Recent statistics from The Bureau of Labor Statistics show that over 90% of the construction industry, as a whole, are males and more than 88% are Caucasian. However, 46.7% of laborers are Hispanic and it’s estimated that over 75% of the construction workforce is Spanish speaking. With the 2021 US Census Bureau showing that the United States is continuing to diversify, it’s important that the industry considers evolutions to the workforce and how to ensure representation and inclusion of multicultural talent in everyday jobs.

Why Now?

With the nation’s ambitious climate and sustainability goals, construction workers are in high demand to advance clean energy infrastructure and electrification. Renewable and clean energy systems such as electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging stations, solar panels, heat pumps and more require specialized skills, knowledge and support from electricians and other skilled construction workers. According to a recent report from Rewiring America, one million additional electricians are needed in the United States to make these important infrastructure updates. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects a 9.1% growth in electrician jobs from 2020 to 2030. Electricians are needed now more than ever, and retaining diverse talent in the industry can help minimize labor shortages and advance electrification.  

Recognize, Embrace and Seek-out the Solution

Consider the following to attract and retain a more diverse construction workforce:

  • Partner with community organizations to reach and meet potential workers where they are at.
  • Consider ways to specifically support and attract women to the field and offer apprentice and trainee opportunities.
  • Make and share resources that can be easily read in multiple languages, such as the Leviton 2023 Captain Code Guide, available in both Spanish and English editions.
  • Offer workshops on the future of sustainable energy and infrastructure to increase awareness for the industry’s needs.
  • Learn, understand and address challenges facing potential workers. Simple things like coordinating transportation to and from the worksite or offering code resources in Spanish can have a big impact on making a reliable worker.

The Bottom Line

The clean energy movement is quickly escalating, and there is already a shortage of electricians in the US. Attracting and retaining diverse talent in the construction industry can help. There is a tremendous opportunity for new talent to pursue a career in construction.