Shortage of workers for Southwest Florida construction companies

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Construction worker during a home remodeling project. (Credit: WINK News)
Construction worker during a home remodeling project. (Credit: WINK News)

Everywhere you look in Southwest Florida, you can find a construction site. From a home getting a new roof, to workers starting from scratch.

William Varian, president and CEO of Naples-based Varian Construction, has his crew on Thursday working on an addition to his home. If Varian did not do it now, he is not sure when they would be available again.

There is a high demand for new construction workers, but many projects are struggling because there are not enough workers.

“We’re feeling it right now as an industry,” Varian said. “Plumbers and electricians are really needing it. They’re just not there anymore. The skilled people are not there anymore.”

In his 30 years of experience, Varian sees a decline in young adults in the construction industry. The job provides a good source of income, around $15 to $18 an hour to start. Some soon earn $30 an hour if they are good at the work.

“It was in high school that I learned, ‘hey, I like carpentry or I like masonry.’ And that’s not there anymore.”

Varian told WINK News the average age of people expressing interest to him for work nowadays was 52-year-old.

All these variable has a significant effect on his business. Varian said projects that use to take three months now stretch four months or longer.

“I know my drywall and stucco guy were behind schedule because they just had so much work and they couldn’t get enough bodies to do it,” Varian said.

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