Green Key Unlocked: Hiring Trends in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction

Two construction project managers discuss their work.

As the workforce begins to transition out of the era of remote work, several industries are experiencing the swing towards a candidate-driven job market. This is especially true for jobs in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC), which were largely halted during the coronavirus shutdowns.

“Architecture, engineering, and construction management firms are all coming out of this pandemic simultaneously. It’s creating a shortage of talent and an urgency to find supporting staff for them,” says Rich Egloff, Director of Green Key Architecture & Engineering

According to Egloff, “We are in the midst of a candidate-driven market, and we are seeing more offers per candidate than ever before.”

What does this mean for AEC employers and job seekers?

Construction jobs have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Prior to the nationwide coronavirus shutdowns in March and April 2020, the construction industry was on track for its highest level of employment since the 2008 recession.

“[The construction industry] employed 7.64 million people in February 2020,” writes Michelle Meisels, Principal at Deloitte Consulting. “Then, COVID-19 reached the United States, causing the industry to lose $60.9 billion in GDP and decreasing total jobs to roughly 6.5 million.”

Since the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021, however, many construction projects are picking up pace after a year-long hiatus. As a result, construction companies will need to hire 430,000 more workers than they employed in 2020, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released in late March 2021.

There are skilled labor shortages in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries.

Despite the surge in demand, “it is unclear if there is a sufficient amount of labor to support growth [in the construction industry],” according to Irontrax.

Labor shortages adversely impact project timelines and output, potentially causing younger AEC companies to fall behind more established competitors. The existing skilled labor gap cuts across several specialties, namely:

  • Mechanical, electrical, and civil engineers
  • Architects
  • HVAC technicians
  • Plumbers
  • Other skilled trades, including carpenters, pipe fitters, and painters

Demand for work varies by location and type of project.

Not all construction work is created equal. As AEC job seekers pursue opportunities in a post-pandemic workforce, they should also factor geographic location and project type into their job hunt.

“The West Coast (including Alaska and Hawaii), pockets in the Midwest, and several Northeast states all pay construction workers higher hourly wages than the rest of the country,” writes Brandon Medina for Construction Coverage.

In addition to location, the type of construction work also plays a role in how well employees are paid. Populous U.S. cities and neighborhoods are experiencing a surge in demand for construction work in the residential, healthcare, and education sectors.

Next steps

Crafting a career requires the same attention-to-detail and visionary thinking that’s crucial to a great architect or engineer.

With that understanding at the core of their work, Green Key Architecture & Engineering is dedicated to the career and team development of architecture, engineering, and construction management firms and professionals nationwide. Reach out to our team today.

Visit and select Architecture & Engineering from our practice area drop-down menu to browse careers and get in touch with a recruiter.

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