Beating the Construction Labour Shortage

It doesn’t matter where you look nowadays there are headlines in the ...

It doesn’t matter where you look nowadays there are headlines in the news daily telling us about the labour shortage. It’s a real problem and one that likely won’t be going away anytime soon. Since this is the case, we thought we’d help you out with an article on ways you can help to combat the industry labour shortage.

The first thing we need to do is identify what the problem is. The labour shortage is a problem because the number of skilled workers is reducing as older workers retire and fewer younger workers come on board.

One of the ways you can combat the shortage is by making your existing work force more efficient by implementing lean techniques.

Lean construction techniques have been around for many years now. They’ve recently become the buzz word around the industry but some of the concepts are actually useful. We’ve implemented a few of them on various projects, and, found increases in employee and trade productivity.

Kanban Boards – one of the coolest (and our favourite) lean technique is to utilize a Kanban board to manage your team. The tech industry uses these but they can be adapted to construction to help you manage your teams tasks. Essentially these group sections of tasks into different streams (not started, started, on hold, out for review and completed). It allows you to keep track of your team and make sure that they are focusing on what you need them to.

Pull Planning – another new technique, this involves planning projects directly with the people at the field level. Pull planning involves putting stickies up on a board on a weekly basis with the tasks for the week being provided by the trades themselves. This makes everyone responsible for their own dates and ensures everyone is working together.

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Technology Makes Things More Efficient

Lean initiatives may be a start but a lot of industries have been improving their efficiency for years on the back of technology. Technology allows us to take tasks and automate them. This means jobs that used to take a team of people to complete can now take just one. A few areas you can incorporate technology and see drastic improvements include:

  • Accounting Software – to automate your billing procedures and generate invoices for your clients
  • Health and Safety – automate form and data collection across your company reducing administration time
  • Deficiencies and Issue Management – software such as Plangrid, and Autodesks BIM360 can help to reduce the time not only correcting issues but managing them and following up with the correct people
  • Documentation – Solutions such as Procore specialize in streamlining the construction process, RFI’s, Submittals etc. These programs greatly reduce the time spent administering documents

Have a read through our technology on the construction job site for more examples.

Hire an Intern and Develop Them

What are some of your most memorable days in your career? Who was your first mentor? These are all strong memories we have, and just as someone once took a chance on you, you should take a chance on someone. Interns or Co-Op placements can be one of the most cost-effective ways of developing people. In addition to having the satisfaction that you’ve helped someone, you get to build in some loyalty into someone as well.

One of the only ways we are going to make it through this labour shortage will be by developing our young people, through internships and work programs. Be a part of developing our future!

Are you just starting your career in construction? Consider reading our article on starting out in the construction industry!


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Work Place Labour Training

Their are lots of great programs available for people to develop their employees. These are courses available across the industry from training on safety to training on more technical skills. If your work force isn’t as talented as you need them to be why not invest in them and grow them to the place that you need them to? Invest in training to improve efficiency and help with the lack of skill within our industry.

Investing in your people is one of the strongest investments a company can make.

Consider online courses, or lunch and learns. Some companies will offer training for free as a way to up sell their specific product. For example, a lunch a learn on a specific type of air handling unit may be for free for a certain manufacturer. That training however, may have points about equipment in general and will help your team to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the different pieces of equipment.

There are many other ways a company can beat the labour shortage. Share some of yours with us below.

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