Addressing the Workforce Skills Gap in Construction and CRE-related Trades

By: Barry E. Stern, Ph.D.

Release Date: July 2019

A shortage of construction and logistics workers has increased the cost of construction for developers and hampered the expansion and profitability of warehouse and distribution centers. The NAIOP Research Foundation commissioned this report to explore some of the contributing factors to the workforce shortage and how the construction and logistics industries can improve worker recruitment, training, productivity and retention. The author interviewed several national and regional workforce development program leaders to learn about their partnerships with industry to recruit and train the next generation of construction and logistics workers.

The report examines the following:

  • Contractors will increasingly need to adopt new technologies to improve worker productivity.
  • The most successful workforce development programs rely on multisector collaboration.
  • It is important to align workforce development programs with local trends.
  • Demonstrating that a job can be part of a long-term career is important to recruitment and retention in the logistics and construction industries.
  • The construction and logistics industries need to invest in training and recruiting high school students and recent graduates.
  • Investing in ongoing training for current employees ensures that workers have the latest skills and improves worker recruitment and retention.

Recent trends suggest that the construction and logistics industries cannot rely on the status quo to produce enough qualified workers to meet future demand. Similarly, current levels of technology adoption are unlikely to result in the worker productivity growth that these industries need to become more profitable. The interconnected strategies for improving workforce development and worker productivity that are identified in this report should be of interest to anyone who works in real estate development or the logistics industry.