After years of being battered by the Great Recession, many contractors say they now are having problems finding enough qualified workers, according to a recent survey.

Eighty-three percent of construction firms who responded to the Associated General Contractors of America’s questionnaire said they cannot find qualified candidates to fill key positions. Positions going vacant include carpenters, equipment operators and laborers. Professional positions such as project supervisors, estimators and engineers are also going unfilled, the association said.

“As the survey results make clear, many construction firms across the country are having a hard time filling available positions,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors. “Considering how much the nation’s educational focus has moved away from teaching students career and technical skills during the past few decades, it is easy to understand why the construction industry is facing such severe labor shortages.”

In response, many companies say they are increasing the use of subcontractors and staffing agencies, and 59 percent said they have boosted wages to attract or keep workers.

The association is calling on schools to increase technical education programs to make young people aware of industry careers.