Thursday, May 17, 2012

Demand for Green Buildings Exceeds Workforce Supply

Maggie Comstock
Policy Analyst
U.S. Green Building Council

This morning, 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 U.S. Green Building Council and the American Institute of Architects with support from other contributing partners, finds that 69 percent 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 percent of firms considered professional credentials as a boost to their competitiveness. 75 percent 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 jobs or our website.


  1. It is great to hear that this part of construction industry is on the rise. It would be even better, if more cities supported Green Architecture. Good example can by the city of Vancouver with its "Greenest City 2020 Action Plan". They want to have all new construction in Vancouver be greenhouse-gas-neutral by 2030. Hopefully, the capacities of the resources will be sufficient by then

    1. Dear Sebastian,

      Thanks for your comment! I agree that cities hold a great deal of promise for promoting green buildings and sustainability. Vancouver is definitely a leader on this front. Stay tuned to see more about how USGBC is working with cities around the country (and world) to make this goal a reality!

  2. It is important for those who work with building infrastructures like engineers, architects as well as real estate agents to take LEED or Green infrastructure training courses. With the help of these courses, they will know how important Green infrastructure or sustainable building for everyone, our environment and for the future as well. To start your Green infrastructure education, you can check this link:


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