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Construction companies are taking steps to address labor shortage

A recent survey from Teletrac Navman shows construction companies are planning to raise pay, implement more training and increase on-the-job safety standards to make construction more attractive to younger workers, according to www.forbes.com.

The construction market continues to face labor challenges, which have become even more significant as aging baby boomers retire and companies have a difficult time finding young people to fill jobs.

Demand for construction is increasing in every sector, and the worldwide construction market is expected to grow by 85 percent to $15.5 trillion by 2030. Although more than 1 million of the more than 2 million jobs lost after the Great Recession have returned, the industry still is falling short when it comes to labor—even causing companies to turn away jobs.

To help solve the problem, firms are working to improve recruitment, retention and job safety. The survey, which focuses on equipment operators and drivers, showed that 54 percent of companies plan to hire more workers, and more companies are planning to use freelance equipment operators.

About 53 percent of companies surveyed said they plan to increase pay, and 36 percent said they would offer more training and educational programs. Firms are working to enhance job safety by using cameras or sensors to evaluate potential risks, and about 16 percent of the organizations surveyed said they used telematics to improve driver or operator safety. Telematics is the process of sending and receiving information to and from remote devices and equipment; it can be used to monitor drivers, equipment locations and other equipment and job safety information.

The decline of labor productivity also has become an issue, with construction workers spending an average 60 percent to 70 percent of their time waiting on equipment or facing scheduling issues.

Companies plan to use technology to help improve productivity. About 81 percent of companies surveyed already were using telematics and plan to use them within the next year. However, 75 percent of those surveyed have only been using tech to monitor equipment location and not to improve maintenance, or driver/operator safety and performance. More than half the organizations using telematics said it has reduced fuel costs by more than 40 percent, and almost one-third of companies said telematics resulted in fewer accidents.

Companies said in the future they might use fatigue monitoring, machine vision technology, drones and big data analytics. Nine percent of companies said autonomous vehicles will affect future business operations.

Still, 38 percent of the companies surveyed said they are not considering investing in new or emerging technology.


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