Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Report: Contractors Struggle to Find Workers

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Report: Contractors Struggle to Find Workers

Article excerpt

More than nine out of every 10 contractors surveyed in Kansas is having trouble finding some types of workers, according to a report from the Associated General Contractors of America, but the small sample size makes it unclear if that represents a true picture.

The report, released Wednesday, found 30 percent of Kansas contractors surveyed were having trouble filling "all key professional and craft worker positions," and another 60 percent were struggling to fill some, but not all, types of positions. Just 10 percent said they were having no trouble filling jobs, and no contractors reported that they weren't hiring.

About 1,000 contractors were surveyed nationwide, including 20 in Kansas. On average, 83 percent nationwide reported they had trouble filling craft positions, like carpenters and plumbers, and 61 percent said they were having trouble filling professional positions like supervisors and engineers.

The most difficult-to-find craft workers in Kansas were plumbers, pipefitters and welders. Among those who said they were having trouble finding craft workers, 100 percent said they needed more applicants with those specialties.

Carpenters weren't far behind, with 78 percent of those who said they needed more craft workers citing that position as one they were having trouble filling. Other workers contractors mentioned they needed were equipment operators, 64 percent; cement masons, 60 percent; iron workers, 60 percent; roofers, 50 percent; laborers, 44 percent; and drywall installers, 33 percent. Contractors said they didn't have trouble finding bricklayers, electricians and painters.

When asked about professional positions, 80 percent of contractors in Kansas said they were having trouble finding enough project managers and supervisors. Engineers also were in short supply, with 67 percent saying they were having trouble finding them. Thirty-three percent lacked estimating professionals, and 20 percent needed more safety professionals. Contractors apparently had no trouble finding people in marketing, human resources, information technology and accounting, however. …

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