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Addressing the Labor Shortage in Construction Painting: Insights for Decision Makers

fading silhouettes holding painting equipment, highlighting the missing labor force


The construction painting industry is facing a significant challenge: a shortage of skilled painters. This blog post is directed at those who lead and make decisions in this industry, such as owners, CEOs, and directors of painting companies, particularly those with staff over 20 employees. Understanding this issue is crucial for finding effective solutions and ensuring your company's strength and sustainability.

The Growing Shortage in Europe

In Europe, painting companies are experiencing increasing difficulty in hiring skilled painters. In 2022, the European Labour Authority highlighted how 13 European Countries experience a shortage of construction painters. 63% of the countries even reported the shortage to be severe. This issue is particularly clear in Denmark where in 2020, only 56% of painting companies reported a labor shortage. Yet by 2022, this number had alarmingly risen to 85% according to the Painter Insight Monitor. This situation in Denmark reflects a broader trend in Europe, highlighting the urgent need to address this growing concern. 

Aging Workforce and Health Concerns

A significant aspect of this labor shortage is the aging workforce in the painting industry. Remarkably, 25% of painters are now 58 or older. This aging trend is not just about the number of workers; it also brings health concerns to the forefront. As painters age, they face various health challenges, impacting their work efficiency and safety. For example, the repetitive work above shoulder height can be particularly straining. In a study by the Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment, stressed the importance that older workers shoulder have fewer physically demanding jobs. A challenging thing to realize for the average painter. Though, addressing these concerns is vital for the well-being of these workers.

Decline in Young Entrants

A concerning trend in the painting industry is the decreasing number of young people choosing this profession. Currently, only 7% of all painters are below the age of 35. This decline isn't just a number – it reflects how the painting trade is perceived. To reverse this trend, it's essential to understand and address the reasons why fewer young people are entering the field. Construction should be seen by younger generations as an exciting field where you can create real-life results and are part of something bigger. In a report by Deloitte, Gen Z and millennials say they want a sense of purpose and see environmental sustainability as a key concern. With the building and construction sector being responsible for 37% of the global emissions, it on paper is the ideal industry to make a sustainable impact.

Productivity Challenges and Innovative Solutions

The shortage of skilled painters directly impacts productivity. With fewer hands on deck, completing projects on time becomes a challenge, affecting both profitability and client satisfaction. And one can expect that older workers will do fewer physically demanding tasks as mentioned before. On top of this, the same Deloitte report states how Gen Z and millenials want flexibility (for example, part-time work) and ideally work fewer hours such as a 4-day workweek. This might affect productivity even further.

However, there's a silver lining. Innovative approaches, including the adoption of new technologies, can enhance productivity. These technologies not only enhance productivity but also present an opportunity to attract a tech-savvy younger workforce. Embracing such advanced tools can be a game-changer for painting companies facing labor shortages. Moreover, it could play a role in tackling the sustainability challenges that are seen as important by younger generations.

Attracting Young Talent with Technology

Attracting younger workers is crucial for the future of the painting industry. Young people are drawn to careers that offer not just good pay, but also the use of modern tools and technology. By showcasing how the painting industry is evolving with new technologies, companies can spark interest among the younger generation. It's about painting a picture of a future where technology and tradition painting blend. Offering a fulfilling career with impact and a work-life balance that young talent is looking for.


The labor shortage in the construction painting industry is a difficult challenge, but can be solved. By understanding the reasons contributing to this shortage, like the aging workforce and the decline in young entrants, and by adopting innovative solutions, the industry can navigate its way towards a more sustainable future. It requires pro-activity and collaboration from everyone involved. 


ROICO has a solution that supports painting in construction boosting productivity, reducing costs, and improving sustainability. We are focused on creating collaborative solutions - these are solutions that can work together with people on-site making their lives easier. 

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