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
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.