The US construction industry has faced many challenges in recent years, and as an experienced built environment and construction recruiter with a particular focus on North America, I’ve been witness to the disruptions caused by the global pandemic. As construction workers grappled with lockdowns, safety measures, supply chain interruptions, and project suspensions, the industry saw a significant shift in dynamics. In 2020, as the pandemic raged on, the US construction industry experienced widespread job losses with workers facing uncertainty and the worry of job security.



Fast forward to 2023 and while research bodies including Statista show the number of employees in the US construction industry are on the increase, the reality I see is that my construction clients and contacts across the US are still in dire need of skilled workers to fill vital roles.

Indeed, from my perspective, the demand for construction talent has never been higher, especially for project management professionals. Companies are actively seeking individuals with the expertise to drive projects forward; something that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics called out a couple of years ago when they reported a talent shortage of 9.5 million new Construction Project Managers by 2030.

Despite this demand, I still find that many of the factors that changed the US construction job market during the pandemic, remain today. Here are my top three reasons that continue to reshape the US construction industry’s talent landscape.


Increased hesitancy to move

Pre-pandemic, in 2019, recruiters like me were inundated with candidates looking to leave their current firms. Motivations included qualms with employers, desire for career growth, family relocations, and more. However, today’s job market tells a completely different story. I now find a hesitancy among construction professionals to make career moves. The fear of rejection and concerns about job security loom large, with many fearing that they might be the first out the door if they join a new company.

It’s important to remember that this hesitation can have long-term consequences for your career. The current talent shortage means there are more opportunities than ever before in the construction industry. Companies are actively searching for employees, and job security is not as precarious as some may think.


‘Hesitation can have long-term consequences for your career.’

Increased counteroffers as companies panic

One striking trend I’ve noticed in the North American construction job market is the surge in counteroffers. Companies are doing everything they can to retain their existing talent. While this may seem like a positive development, it often masks deeper issues. If your company only recognizes your worth when you threaten to leave, it raises questions about your long-term prospects there. Counteroffers can lead to a breakdown of trust, and employees who accept them may find themselves on shaky ground when the company needs to make layoffs.

The key is to evaluate your job satisfaction and growth potential within your current organization. If you feel undervalued or stifled, it might be time to explore other opportunities that align with your career goals.


Increased remote work and flexibility

The pandemic has reshaped the way we work, even in traditionally on-site industries like construction. Remote work and flexibility have become sought-after perks in recent years with many construction professionals eager to find employers who offer these benefits. Employers have recognized the advantages of flexible work arrangements, and it has become more widely accepted. Commuting long hours to work is no longer the norm. Candidates are increasingly looking for roles that offer a better work-life balance, and employers are responding by providing remote work options. If your current job doesn’t offer this flexibility, it may be the right time to consider a move.

While the talent shortage and job market hesitancy remain, opportunities abound for construction professionals who are willing to take the leap. As companies struggle with counteroffers and the demand for remote work, candidates have the chance to reshape their careers in ways that align with their aspirations and work-life balance preferences. I truly believe the future of construction is bright for those ready to seize the moment.


Trends to monitor in 2024

Looking into the future, how do I think the industry could be affected by trends expected for the next year?

Economically: The overall state of the economy will play a significant role. A strong economy can drive construction demand, but a downturn can lead to layoffs and reduced interest in the industry.

Infrastructure Investment: Government investments in infrastructure projects can create job opportunities in the construction sector, potentially alleviating the talent shortage.

Technology Adoption: The construction industry is increasingly adopting technology, which may require a different skill set and attract a new generation of workers interested in technology-driven roles.

Remote Work Trends: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated remote work in many industries. It’s possible that some aspects of construction work could become more digitally driven and remote, affecting the type of skills needed.

Sustainability and Green Building: An increasing focus on sustainability and green building practices may create opportunities for specialized roles in the construction industry.


Is now the right time to move role?

In today’s US construction job market, there are numerous opportunities waiting to be seized. Whether you’re looking for a job closer to home, a better work-life balance, or a salary increase, now is a favourable time to explore new career paths. The construction industry is actively seeking talent, and salaries are at their highest levels.



If you’re interested in a new career challenge or seeking advice on your next move, I’m here to help. Register with us today or email me directly to schedule a confidential discussion about your career prospects.

Alternatively, if you’re a construction company looking for talent, learn about our dedicated Built Environment team can help or read our case study, Sourcing a ‘purple unicorn’ senior estimator in under a week.