2020 Sage Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Survey

Despite signs the overall economy may be slowing, most construction firms expect demand for their services and hiring will expand in 2020, yet even more firms are worried about their ability to find qualified workers to hire, according to survey results released earlier this month by AGC of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate. The findings are detailed in Strong Demand for Work Amid Stronger Demand for Workers: The 2020 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Report.

“Contractors are very optimistic about demand for construction in 2020,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. “At the same time, many construction executives are troubled by labor shortages and the impacts those shortages are having on operations, training and safety programs, and bottom lines.”


Download the recording of the call here.

Regional results: 

State-specific results: 

You can also view results for open-shop, union, small (under $50 million), mid-size ($50.1 to 500 million) or large (over $500 million) firms. 

84 contractors who listed Texas as their primary state (out of 956 total respondents). Some highlights include:

  • Q1. Do you expect the dollar value of projects you compete for in 2020 to be higher or lower than in 2019? (Difference between % answering “higher” and % answering “lower” is the net reading. The state write-up shows the net reading for the US along with the “higher”, “lower”, “same” and net reading % for Texas respondents.) Among 13 market segments, the net readings nationally were all positive, ranging from a high of 25% for water & sewer construction to 8% for private office construction. The net reading for Texas respondents ranged from 56% for bridge & highway construction to 18% each for private office and public building construction. 
  • Q2. What numerical change do you expect in your headcount in 2020? US: increase 75%, decrease 5%; Texas: increase 88%, decrease 2%
  • Q4. We are having a hard time filling some or all salaried and hourly craft positions: US 81%, Texas 87%
  • Q5. Over the next 12 months it will continue to be hard or become harder to hire hourly craft or salaried personnel: US 65%, Texas 64%

  • Q6. Did your firm increase pay or benefits for salaried or hourly craft personnel in 2018 because of difficulty filling positions?
    Our firm increased base pay rates more in 2019 than in 2018: US 54%, Texas 56%
    Our firm provided incentives/bonuses: US 23%, Texas 24%
    Our firm increased our portion of benefit contributions and/or improved employee benefits: US 14%, Texas 17%

  • Q7. If your firm is experiencing staffing challenges, how would you describe the impact on your projects?
    Costs have been higher than we anticipated: US 44%, Texas 48%; we have put higher prices into our bids or contracts US 41%, Texas 52%
    Projects have taken longer than we anticipated: US 40%, Texas 40%; we have put longer completion times into our bids or contracts: US 23%, Texas 27%
The full set of questions, which cover a range of topics including recruitment and training, top concerns, technology adoption, and safety, can be found here.

For more information regarding this survey, contact AGC of America Chief Economist, Ken Simonson (702-837-5313)