Dear YouDig?

Millennials and The Future of Skilled Labor


Dear YouDig?,

We are finding it extremely difficult to find quality workers in specialized trades. Our design team finds some amazing designs to install for our clients and we also find some specialized materials. Then we have trouble securing quality specialized installers.  Ultimately, we end up with budget issues, delays or sloppy workmanship that puts us at odds with our customer.  What is causing this?

-Got Talent?


Dear Talent,

Skilled construction is no longer the career path of choice for talented young workers. Rank and file millennials don’t envision themselves with a hard hat, a lunch box and a set of plans. How can they envision anything at all with their IPhone in their faces, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter  and all the noise and distractions that come with new era technology.

YD? believes that real opportunity is waiting for the willing. Think about it…a large chunk of highly paid skilled workers are baby boomers in their fifties and sixties.  The strength of the workforce is getting ready to put their feet up. I don’t blame them. They have built and rebuilt a huge chunk of this country. Unfortunately, as you observed Talent, that leaves the balance  of the workforce faced with incorporating emerging technologies but who are often falling short on skills.

Scarcity rather than talent is driving up costs. Production is weakening. These are core issues in the USA education system. A call to arms for a concerted and committed effort by education and industry is necessary to address this problem. The labor buyers must join the labor growers (i.e. schools) to intensively market the opportunity to the students and parents. We can all help create a real pathway to a solid middle class career and much, much more lucrative path for the highly motivated and specially talented.

A vibrant workforce must evolve which would be better trained and perhaps more suited to embrace the new technologies. Thankfully, there is a movement spearheaded by groups like the Associated Builders and Contractors, the labor unions and other groups, but it’s not enough.  It is happening too slowly. This should be an industry wide priority, including you Talent.   Get on the bandwagon and make it happen, YouDig?


John Swansinger is the author and founder of YouDig and is a partner in Buckingham, Doolittle & Burrough, LLC‘s real estate and construction practice group. He works with contractors, developers and construction owners on construction law issues including construction contracts, commercial agreements, construction litigation, subcontractor issues, insurance liability, breach of contract and more. He can be reached at or 216.615.7356.

YouDig is an online resource that connects the construction community with vital issues affecting the industry and is a component of the business law firm Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC that is specifically geared toward construction.