Panama City construction firm boss Gabriel Btesh reveals the ways in which the industry is overcoming current shortages of skilled labor.
With construction currently booming globally, contractors such as Gabriel Btesh are increasingly encountering a shortage of skilled laborers. This, the construction firm boss believes, is largely an ongoing or delayed effect of the global recession seen during the late 2000s.
“Skilled laborers are in short supply,” Panama City-based Btesh explains, “with as many as 90 percent of contractors in North, Central, and South America reporting a severe scarcity of qualified workers.”
According to Btesh, during the global recession around a decade ago, large swathes of laborers found themselves out of work. Others retired, he says, and plenty more switched careers looking for work which was less hard hit by the slump.
“While some of these workers returned to the construction sector when economic conditions improved, many did not,” reveals Btesh, adding that, in the years since, a new generation of potential laborers and construction workers has, in general, also failed to see the same strong draw afforded by the industry which was experienced by their parents or grandparents.
What’s required, then, says Gabriel Btesh, is an adjusted approach to attracting new workers to the sector, something which the construction firm boss continues to champion. Great efforts are being made to boost diversity within the construction industry, he says, while average wages are also on the rise in an ongoing move to attract not only skilled laborers but also engineers and project managers, too.
“When there are labor shortages, productivity takes a hit as a result, so it’s vital that we employ new measures to ensure the strength of our workforces,” Btesh explains, “as well as developing additional and innovative ways in which to better compensate skilled staff.”
He continues, “By casting the net as wide as possible and appealing to workers financially, the construction industry, particularly here in Panama, is beginning to overcome its labor shortage.”
Furthermore, Btesh goes on to reveal that with more and more women than ever before entering the field, today’s construction industry is squashing many of the historical and widely perceived gender barriers which have long existed within the sector. “There has never been a bigger, better female presence in construction,” he reveals, “from female laborers and engineers to project managers and estimators.”
“The construction industry, particularly here in Central and South America,” Gabriel Btesh adds, wrapping up, “is working hard to beat the labor shortages of recent years, which, as a result, is adding renewed vigor to the field, and long may it continue.”