Survey finds construction companies struggle to attract and retain qualified employees

MARIETTA, Ga. | Feb 20, 2020

Kennesaw State and Bennett Thrasher collaborate on annual report

The fourth annual Georgia Construction Outlook Survey found that 82 percent of the state’s privately held construction companies still struggle to attract and retain qualified individuals.

The survey, 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, is produced each year to provide insight into how construction companies can remain relevant in an increasingly competitive industry.

Highlights from this year’s survey include:

  • To retain labor, 48 percent of respondents are relying on their benefits and compensation, while 16 percent are focusing on training and development.
  • To recruit talent, 18 percent of survey participants focused on advertisements and job postings, while 16 percent relied on word of mouth.
  • 76 percent of respondents are projecting an increase in revenue, a decrease from last year's projection of revenue (84 percent).
  • 55 percent of survey respondents reported a higher project backlog from the prior year.

Results are based on responses from more than 100 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.

Despite the ongoing shortage of talent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates employment of construction managers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Aiming to close the gap in talent, KSU’s Department of Construction Management offers an ACCE-accredited bachelor’s degree program in construction management with six in-demand concentrations: general, land development, specialty construction, heavy construction, facilities management and residential construction.

“As we have seen over the last four years of this survey, the industry remains hungry for the level of quality our construction management program can produce,” said Khalid Siddiqi, chair of Kennesaw State's Department of Construction Management. “With a nearly 100 percent job placement rate upon graduation, our students are uniquely positioned to deliver an immediate impact, and it is promising to know that companies are willing to innovate to offer well-paying, fulfilling careers.”

This year’s survey was led by Scott Hazy and Tom Jollay, co-leaders of Bennett Thrasher’s Construction Practice, along with Siddiqi.

For more information about the survey, please contact or

– Travis Highfield

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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