10 Most Difficult Construction Roles to Fill Right Now

10 Most Difficult Construction Roles to Fill Right Now

10 Most Difficult Construction Roles to Fill Right Now

The construction industry continues to grow slightly ahead of other industries, despite some critical shortages, namely skilled laborers and the availability of building materials. Land has also increased in price, making new projects more expensive and difficult to fund. The lack of skilled laborers is putting the pressure on for companies to retain and train the staff that they do have. Here are the top 10 roles that are the most difficult to fill right now:

General Laborer

This entry-level position is a great way to learn the industry and what is required and expected on a job site, but it will experience the greatest shortages in the coming years. The job does not pay especially well and requires significant physical labor. Inexperience and carelessness can lead to dangerous accidents, but the only requirement to start work is a willingness to learn.


Electricians are required on nearly every job site, meaning the need for them will only grow. Most states require electricians to be licensed, as well as attendance at a technical school and/or an apprenticeship. These barriers to entry will make it even more difficult to find qualified electricians in the next few years.

Construction Manager

This highly-paid job typically requires a Bachelor’s Degree, making on-the-job training a moot point. The position carries a good deal of responsibility, requiring the Manager to plan, coordinate budgets, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.

Equipment Operators

Operating heavy equipment is an acquired skill, one that is attained through on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or by attending a vocational school. Equipment operators must remain focused and be well aware of all safety protocols, as they are in a position to cause serious damage, expensive mistakes, and potentially deadly accidents. This mid-level position is a great next step for promising entry-level laborers.


Nearly every job site also requires plumbers and pipefitters, which will create shortages in the coming years. Most states require plumbers to be licensed, but the starting salary and potential for growth are both appealing. 


Skilled, reliable painters are difficult to come by, and their prices have risen in recent years due to supply and demand. Painting requires both indoor and outdoor work, as well as bending, reaching, kneeling, and climbing. Patience and an attention to detail are both essential in this trade, meaning that painting is not the right fit for everyone who is drawn to the construction industry.

Solar Photovoltaic Installers

Harnessing the power of the sun to save money has become extremely popular across the United States, with many residential and commercial clients installing solar panels on their roofs and in their parking lots. However, as demand for these installations continues to increase, so does the demand for trained installers.

Structural Iron and Steelworkers

The installation of structural and reinforcing iron and steel to form and support buildings, bridges, and roads is critical to the infrastructure of our society. Ironworkers perform physically demanding and dangerous work, often at great heights. Workers must wear safety equipment to reduce the risk of falls or other injuries.

Sheet Metal Workers

Fabricating and installing sheets of metal requires some specialized training, as well as physical labor and standing for long periods of time. This shortage of workers will be less significant than other shortages in coming years.

Glaziers (Glass Installers)

Most construction projects require glass to be installed as windows, skylights, and other fixtures. Glaziers cut and install these glass pieces, which means that they often experience cuts from glass edges, and must install pieces on high scaffolding. This particular trade is not lacking workers in the same high numbers as other trades on the list.


It is more important than ever for construction companies to retain and train their reliable workers. Labor shortages will become even more noticeable in the years to come.