With a global labor shortage on the rise, companies must invest in technological advancements as well as develop worker skills.
Which technologies do you see bringing the most dramatic change to the skilled trade industry in the next few years?
The construction industry is facing a global labor shortage, especially with skilled operators. In terms of heavy civil construction, I feel the most dramatic change will be through two areas of tech, and virtual reality training and semi-autonomous technologies. Virtual reality will provide companies with a much more cost-effective means of training new employees, supporting field operations along with attracting a younger demographic of people into the industry. And semi-autonomy will attract a wider spectrum of individuals into this industry, such as those who are physically unable to get on a machine, or those who are concerned about the atmosphere on a construction site. Controlling heavy equipment from an office environment is not only safer, but more comfortable. It opens a whole new door to productivity and gives a single operator the ability to control more than one machine remotely, or even better simultaneously.
Why is it important to prioritize workforce development within the skilled trades space?
The unprecedented worker shortage we’re seeing today is one of the biggest and most crippling problems by companies that employ skilled tradespeople. With the highly competitive job market that we’re seeing today, companies who do not prioritize their workforce development will find it increasingly hard to attract new talent to their positions. With the prevalence of the internet and social media in our society, companies need to realize that virtually everything that a current or previous employee has said about them online is instantly visible to their new prospects with a quick Google search. A poor company reputation is bound to spread like wildfire, and proper workforce development is one of the most important factors to prevent that.
What would you say to inspire the next generation of individuals who are looking to start a career in a skilled trade?
To the next generation of people looking to start a career in a skilled trade, I’d say that there’s never been a better time than now. From what I’ve been seeing, companies are more willing than ever to train new employees and invest in their workforce.