Demand for Green Buildings Exceeds Workforce Supply

The Empire State building is now LEED certified.

Will the rapidly increasing demand for green buildings lead to a shortfall in skilled workers, asks  Maggie Comstock.


McGraw-Hill Construction (MHC) released its latest SmartMarket Report, “Construction Industry Workforce Shortages: Role of Certification, Training and Green Jobs in Filling the Gaps.” The report, sponsored by the US Green Building Council and the American Institute of Architects with support from other contributing partners, finds that 69% of architect, engineer and contractor professionals expect there to be a shortage of skilled labor in the next three years. With the rapidly increasing demand for green buildings, industry professionals are concerned that the supply of skilled workforce cannot keep up with the demand. While having more jobs than people to fill them seems like a good problem to have in today’s economy, the shortage cannot be trivialized.
Green building design and construction, defined by MHC as LEED or comparable sustainable construction standards, account for nearly a third of the design and construction workforce, supporting nearly 650,000 jobs. The report estimates that this figure will increase to half of the design and construction workforce by 2014.
Training programs and professional credentials are bridging the skilled workforce gap. An MHC survey of architect, engineer and contractor firms revealed that 71% of firms considered professional credentials as a boost to their competitiveness. 75% of individuals surveyed believe that having a professional credential, including LEED Green Associate or AP, brought them more job opportunities.
USGBC’s Roger Platt, senior vice president of global policy and law, commented on the report, saying: “green buildings are a clear-cut smart investment in the current economic climate because they create financial returns, have environmental benefits and positively impact job creation. Job creation and economic stability are crucial to supporting resilient and strong communities, and green buildings support the jobs of the future.”
Despite the state of the global economy and the overall decline in construction projects, green building construction has remained resilient. The growing demand for skilled green building workers is a testament to the future of the industry. Green jobs and training are the path forward as we build the green economy from the ground up.
To learn more about the role of green buildings in job creation and USGBC’s green economy work, see our fact sheet on green jobsor our website.

This blog post was cross posted from the US Green Building website

Maggie Comstock is a Policy Analyst at the US Green Building Council.