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Press Release

Construction Industry's Workforce Shortage Brings Concerns, but Green Jobs Bring Promise

May 17, 2012 - New York, NY

The construction industry is concerned about skilled worker shortages, according to a new SmartMarket Report from McGraw-Hill Construction entitled "Construction Industry Workforce Shortages: Role of Certification, Training and Green Jobs in Filling the Gaps." It is the first study to focus exclusively on design and construction professionals and trade workers. Skilled workers have left the industry as a result of the economic downturn, an aging workforce and an insufficient pipeline of younger workers, according to the new study released at the AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition this week in Washington, DC. The study shows that 69% of architect, engineer, and contractor (AEC) professionals expect skilled workforce shortages in next three years; 32% of AEC are concerned about a shortage of specialty trade contractors by 2014; 49% of the general contractors are concerned about finding skilled craft workers by 2017, and 37% of architect and engineering firms are concerned about finding experienced workers. Skilled green workers are in even more demand; 86% of architects and engineers and 91% of contractors are finding too few green skilled employees.

Construction Industry Workforce Shortages: Role of Certification, Training and Green Jobs in Filling the GapsFacing the loss of employees in the construction professions, industry professionals are worried they may have lost those skills, and uncertainty about interest by the next generation raises concerns about being able to fill gaps in the future. In a separate but related survey McGraw-Hill Construction conducted for the American Institute of Architects (AIA), 79% of architecture firms are not sure the U.S. student pipeline will be sufficient to replace those leaving the profession, a problem exacerbated by the 76% of U.S. architecture students/recent graduates who would consider working abroad.

"The downturn in construction activity may be masking a serious problem in the construction industry workforce," said Harvey Bernstein, vice president, Industry Insights and Alliances for McGraw-Hill Construction. "But the rise of green jobs and more availability of training and professional certifications can help to attract interest in the professions and make firms more competitive."

Green jobs, in particular, represent a transformational shift in the construction industry. McGraw-Hill Construction found that 35% of architects, engineers and contractors report having green jobs today, representing nearly 650,000 jobs. That share is expected to increase over the next three years, with 45% of all design and construction jobs being green by 2014.

McGraw-Hill Construction defines "green jobs" as those involving more than 50% of work on green projects (defined by McGraw-Hill Construction as projects meeting LEED or another credible green building certification program, or one that is energy- and water-efficient and also addresses indoor air quality and/or resource efficiency) or designing and installing uniquely green systems. Focusing on the construction professions exclusively, this definition excludes support or administrative professionals and manufacturing, production or transportation-related services.

This growth of green may help draw more young professionals into the industry. For example, the study also reveals that 62% of trade firms are concerned their profession does not appeal to the younger generation and 42% of architects report the same. However, the younger generation reports a strong commitment to sustainability, with 63% of architecture students saying they would engage in sustainable design out of a personal responsibility. This suggests that as green rises, so too may interest by young professionals in the design and construction fields of practice.

"Green buildings are a clear-cut smart investment in the current economic climate because they create financial returns, have environmental benefits and positively impact job creation. USGBC is excited to be releasing this new report with McGraw Hill Construction and the AIA that directly addresses these findings," says Roger Platt, senior vice president of global policy and law at USGBC. "Job creation and economic stability are crucial to supporting resilient and strong communities, and green buildings support the jobs of the future."

The survey also demonstrates that by requiring professional certifications of employees for different skills, firms are more apt to maintain a competitive advantage while also benefiting individual workers.  71% of firms find that having certified employees increases the competitiveness of their firms to win contracts; 68% believe certified employees help them grow their green business; 77% of individuals feel certification helps them gain valuable knowledge they can use on the job, and 75% believe it brings them more job opportunities, which are key in this time of high unemployment.

"These findings should serve as a huge wakeup call for the entire design and construction industry," said AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer, Robert Ivy, FAIA.  "But they also present an opportunity to showcase the tremendous opportunity for architecture students and emerging professionals since there will be such a heavy demand for architects in the coming years."

The premier partners on the project include the American Institute of Architects and the U.S. Green Building Council. Other contributing partners include the Society for Marketing Professional Services, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Building & Construction Trades Department of the AFL/CIO, ACE Mentor Program, American Institute of Constructors & Constructor Certification Commission, and National Center for Construction Education and Research.

Further results and insights will be shared by Bernstein at the AIA National Convention session "Workforce Transformations: Creating a Bridge between the Needs of Today and the Construction Workforce of Tomorrow." The session will be held on Friday, May 18, at 2:00 p.m. at the Washington, DC Convention Center. Highlights from the report will also be offered on Thursday, May 17 at 10:00 a.m. at McGraw-Hill Construction's booth #2603.

A copy of the McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report "Construction Industry Workforce Shortages: Role of Certification, Training and Green Jobs in Filling the Gaps" can be downloaded at

About McGraw-Hill Construction:
McGraw-Hill Construction's data, analytics, and media businesses—Dodge, Sweets, Architectural Record, and Engineering News-Record—create opportunities for owners, architects, engineers, contractors, building product manufacturers, and distributors to strengthen their market position, size their markets, prioritize prospects, and target and build relationships that will win more business. McGraw-Hill Construction serves more than one million customers through its trends and forecasts, industry news, and leading platform of construction data, benchmarks, and analytics. To learn more, visit

About The McGraw-Hill Companies:
McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two public companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at

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Media Contact:
Kathy Malangone, Senior Director, Marketing Communications,
McGraw-Hill Construction, +1 212-904-4376,

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