3 reasons why contractors need craft training to stay competitive

The impacts of industry-wide challenges like the construction workforce shortage are experienced daily by contractors. Developing craft training is one way to alleviate that pressure, and while this may seem like an indirect solution, there is increasing evidence that these programs pay off in competitiveness and profitability.

The following are just a few of the reasons why 41% of firms are boosting their spending on training and professional development programs.

Recruitment and Retention

Despite being particularly adept at overcoming daily challenges, contractors often find attracting skilled craft professionals to be a daunting task. Navigating material delays, budget limitations and rapid project deadlines is familiar territory but recruiting and retention isn’t always a top priority.

One often overlooked method of fostering employee engagement is through skills development and recognition. Craft training and credentials are a source of pride for their recipients. A report that explored the return on investment of manufacturing credentials states the following reasons why employees value them:

  • They receive knowledge and training used in their current job.
  • It leads to being hired, receiving promotions and facilitating career growth.
  • It impacts their ability to do their jobs.

Competitiveness often depends on having a skilled team at the ready, so employee satisfaction and retention are critical during a workforce shortage. Craft training and credentials make companies more appealing to new entrants and existing craft professionals.

Productivity and Profitability

Every company, regardless of sector, can benefit from increased efficiency and quality of work. These factors directly affect revenue by decreasing project costs and improving client satisfaction. The immediate results of craft training have been thoroughly documented in reports such as Construction Industry Craft Training in The United States and Canada and include: decreased turnover, decreased absenteeism and improved safety. The longer-term effects are increased productivity and decreased rework. The well-known RT 231-11 report by CII estimates such benefits as follows:

Estimated effects of investing 1% of the total project budget for wages/labor into craft training:

Productivity Improvement 10.6%
Turnover Decrease 13.9%
Absenteeism Decrease 14.5%
Injury Decrease 25.5%
Rework Decrease 23.2%

These outcomes correlate with a better-trained and more efficient workforce. Projects that stay on-time, within budget and are well-executed lead to satisfied clients and repeat business.

Competitive Advantage

Many owners have requirements in their requests for proposals that ensure the companies have workforce development in place. Craft training, along with credentials and certifications, provides an additional level of confidence and is used as proof of a qualified workforce. To bid on some projects, contractors must have a plan in place that demonstrates how they will fulfill those requirements.

A perfect example of project requirements comes from the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act. It ties several apprenticeship requirements to a significant tax incentive for many energy-related projects. As a result, many owners are now mandating contractors meet those requirements to be considered for those contracts.

With benefits to the contractor, the employee and, ultimately, the client, the value of training the construction workforce is very apparent. Craft training and upskilling should be part of every contractor’s workforce development toolkit. Furthermore, a standardized credentialing program supported by industry reduces the resources required to implement craft training programs. Contractors who use the same standard contribute to the overall growth of the talent pool and improve the skills of the workforce overall.

To explore more about the ROI on craft training and credentialing, see our recent white paper: Future-Proofing the Construction Workforce: The Value of Training and Credentials.


With NCCER’s vast catalog of craft curricula and industry-recognized credentials, solutions that fit the needs of all contractors are within reach. To learn more about the benefits of craft training and options to build your company’s workforce development program, contact NCCER’s Workforce Development Solutions team at www.nccer.org/wfd.

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