Survey reveals Georgia construction industry outlook

KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 27, 2019

Kennesaw State and Bennett Thrasher survey shows construction labor shortages severe

Khalid Siddiqi
Khalid Siddiqi

The third annual Georgia Construction Outlook Survey indicates that labor shortages and reliability from sub-contractors continues to be a looming concern for 83 percent of the state’s privately-held construction companies.

The survey was conducted by Bennett Thrasher, one of the country’s largest full-service public accounting and consulting firms, in collaboration with Kennesaw State University’s Department of Construction Management. Designed to provide benchmarking data of the state’s general contractors and subcontractors, the survey is led by Scott Hazy and Tom Jollay, co-leaders of Bennett Thrasher’s Construction Practice, along with Khalid Siddiqi, chair of Kennesaw State University’s Department of Construction Management.

Results are based on responses from 149 Georgia-based privately-held construction companies in categories including compensation, recruiting and retention strategies, profitability, healthcare costs and benefits, innovation, business challenges and project backlog.

“The labor shortage has become increasingly acute over the last three years. It’s no surprise that recruiting and retaining qualified individuals remains the top challenge for the construction industry,” said Siddiqi. “However, it is encouraging to see that the number of organizations focusing on innovation and technology continue to rise as we address this significant issue.”

“In our third year of this groundbreaking survey, the number of participating firms continues to increase. We are excited to have significant benchmarking data available to show the strength of the construction industry and address the challenges, technology and best practices that are evolving within the industry,” added Hazy, co-leader of Bennett Thrasher’s Construction Practice along with Jollay.

Other major takeaways from the survey include:

  • 38 percent of respondents projected an increase in revenue in the next year, which is up from 77.78 percent in the previous year.
  • Respondents reported an average gross profit per full-time equivalent employee of $45,289, a 32 percent increase from the previous year.
  • Respondents reported an average gross profit margin of 11 percent.
  • 57 percent of companies reported a higher backlog over the last year.
  • 83 percent of the companies surveyed said recruiting and retaining qualified individuals was their biggest business challenge.
  • 68 percent of the privately held construction companies in Georgia are located in metro Atlanta.
  • 67 percent of the companies surveyed said they are a family-owned business, and 58 percent of surveyed participants said they have a succession plan in place.
  • The average salary increase was slightly lower than in the previous year, but companies reported paying out higher bonuses and other benefits not reflected in salary.

The survey also compiled data on compensation, including average salaries for all contractors:

  • President/CEO: $189,754
  • CFO: $118,489
  • Controller: $92,488
  • IT Manager: $79,857
  • Project Manager: $81,042
  • Sales/Marketing Manager: $90,571
  • HR Manager: $59,531
  • Estimator: $78,410
  • Superintendent: $76,003
  • Cost Engineer: $62,708
  • Foreman: $53,017

For more information about the survey, please contact


About Bennett Thrasher LLP
Bennett Thrasher LLP is one of the country’s largest full-service certified public accounting and consulting firms. The firm creates significant value and a unique positive experience through collaboration—with and between clients, partners, associates and the community. Founded in 1980 by Rick Bennett and Ken Thrasher, Bennett Thrasher today has a dedicated, experienced team of partners and associates who believe in creating value by working “Better Together.” For more information, please visit Bennett Thrasher’s website at

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit