The industry has been talking about the problem with labor shortage for quite some time, with plenty of conjecture for how to solve it. Construction firms are wondering:
- How do we attract new labor talent?
- How do we find engaged, driven individuals?
- How do we compete with the College Degree mentality?
- How do we attract recent graduates?
There are lots of ideas regarding ways to address these problems and *hopefully* resolve the issue. We propose that it’s not a one-method approach, but rather, a combined effort of all the tactics the industry is ruminating on.
Currently, the overarching concern for hiring new labor in the construction space is 86% focused on finding both salary and hourly labor. Attracting younger talent is paramount, as older generations are retiring and there’s no one to backfill their place.
Mundane Tasks Deter Talent
A key to a successful company with low turnover is this: automate the mundane. Your people shouldn’t be doing repetitive tasks. They’re brainless and boring, and then usually result in workers becoming less engaged over time. Currently, 23% of tasks spent during the workday in construction is manually entered data.
Automation is a beautiful thing. It reduces talent waste. When routine tasks are automated, your team is free to focus on more complex tasks. They can dedicate more time to thinking critically and problem-solving, instead of being distracted by how much busy work they’ll need to complete by week’s end.
Based on research conducted by McKinsey, the construction industry fails at productivity; nearly 98% of firms go over budget or over schedule on large-scale projects. You’re losing money in an area that’s so easily revolutionized by automation.
People will always be slower than machines. That’s the hard truth. A machine laying bricks is much more efficient and productive than a person doing the same job. The win here is that bricklaying is a low on the list of desirable jobs. The toll it takes on a worker’s body, the dull repetition, as younger generations learn more and more and are raised in a tech-saturated world, these physical labor jobs lose their appeal. Let the robots take over those tasks and use your people for their creativity, problem-solving, and innovative spirit.
Automation and Robots
Robots are incredibly helpful for automation. So are computers (obviously). A few ways you can speed up your jobsite duties:
- Invest in bricklaying (or other equivalent) robots
- Survey land with the help of drones
- Utilize autonomous machines where repetition is rampant
- Monitor site activity with drones
- Use a robot for concrete work, including mixing, pouring, polishing, and more
- Use robots for demolition
- Leverage VR/AR/MR technologies on your jobsite to more efficiently plan and build
- Invest in productivity monitors like Doxel
- Automate workflows wherever possible. This is great for project planning and management tasks.
- If/Then commands
- Progress auto-updates
- Financial updates
- Inventory updates
- Materials updates
- Personnel tracking
- Status updates
- Document tracking and management
IoT sensors are a critical component of taking a jobsite and turning it into a technological ecosystem. These sensors keep workers safe, provide data insights, and prevent damage or loss, just to name a few. Having sensors scattered throughout the jobsite will provide your team with better working knowledge of what problems need to be addressed before they turn into full-blown disasters.
New hires will be looking for ways that your company allows them to innovate and accelerate their career; they won’t be interested in starting off by manually inspecting the jobsite themselves or manually enter data they collect. They’ll want to know you leverage technology to take care of the minutiae.
Sometimes referred to as “additive manufacturing,” 3D printing has made strides as a method for delivery in all sectors in the last decade. It’s still relatively new to the construction space, but it does offer some rather appealing advantages, like waste reduction and more efficiency in building.
You don’t necessarily have to use this technology right now, but it’s wise to keep an eye on the movement and know how your company may implement it in the future.
When these strategies are combined, your firm makes gains in productivity and in new, talented labor. Many of today’s applicants are saturated in technology. Everything they do involves something that’s high tech. If you want to attract these employees, you’ll need to make sure you’re offering them an engaging, challenging workplace equipped with the kinds of tools they’ll expect an employer to have.
Not only do you need the tech, but you need to make sure that your tech functions, and the first place to start is with your connectivity. Ensure you have the right amount of bandwidth for your site by talking with a team who understands the intricacies of remote connectivity.
To steal the sentiment from Field of Dreams, “If you use it, they will come.”