In autumn of 2014, Barnes Dennig and USI surveyed local contractors about salary, benefits and other benchmarking data, and released the findings in a roundtable discussion at the Cintas Center. During the discussion, we reported promising signs for the national, regional, and local construction industry at our reveal of the 2014 Compensation and Benefits Benchmarking Study.

The Architecture Billing Index was at 55.2 with the Midwest of the United States at 55.1 in September 2014. An index greater than 50 indicates an increase in architecture billings over the previous measurement period. Other than a small decrease in January 2015, the index has remained positive above 50 since, and was 51.7 in March 2015. This is a promising sign as we move into the summer construction season.

We also reported strong growth in some Ohio metropolitan areas. Specifically, Cleveland, Dayton, and Lima saw increases in construction employment of 10% or more from July 2013 to July 2014, with other metropolitan areas such as Cincinnati and Springfield experiencing growth of 5% or more. These statistics were echoed in our survey, where 64% of respondents expect an increase in future employee levels, with 34% expecting to remain the same, and only 2% expecting a decrease. 89% also indicated that they anticipate revenue to remain the same or increase, with 36% expecting an increase of 10% or more.

However, one negative coming out of the survey results was respondents’ top concerns. 46% indicated attracting and retaining qualified employees was a concern. This trend is likely to continue as more qualified labor and professionals are leaving the construction industry than are entering. In a time of future expected revenue growth, but a contraction in the labor market, it will be even more imperative for contractors to have a sound benefit program in place to attract and retain the employees necessary to achieve their goals of revenue growth.

If you are interested in these findings, and would like a copy of the 2014 Construction Compensation & Benefits Benchmarking Study, please reach out to us here.