How the construction industry must adapt
By Michael Wright
As the construction worker shortage grows, contractors need to find new methods to not only attract workers but also adapt to the lack of resources. This solution, of course, needs to be balanced with the growing demand for construction services.
The good news is that most modern problems beget modern solutions. Meaning—adopting new technology is a great way to not only get the most out of current resources, but also attract new talent by providing the tools and environment the most sought-after workers will need to succeed.
The industry is growing while the relative talent pool is shrinking, so contractors must adopt a solution that will both maximize project efficiency and serve as a tool for recruitment.
STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, there were almost 300,000 vacant jobs in the construction industry, a number that will continue to rise until contractors find ways to attract a new generation of workers.
Although Baby Boomers make up about 40 percent of today’s construction industry, they are also constantly leaving the industry, meaning new workers are needed to take their place so the industry can keep up with demand.
Beyond hiring issues, many contractors still choose to rely on old-school methods of data collection and distribution—such as spreadsheets or even pen and paper—rather than incorporating technology that boosts productivity and efficiency. This, in turn, may alienate strong candidates who are looking for a modern, productive workplace.
COMBATTING INDUSTRY CHALLENGES
Anyone in the construction industry 10 or so years ago knows the devastating effects that the recession had on the industry; more than 2 million jobs were lost between 2006 and 2010. While the economy today is thriving, it would be foolish to assume there isn’t another recession on the horizon. To prepare for a potential economic downturn, it is important that contractors learn to make the most of their already existing resources and take stock of how they may be doing more with less.
In order to do maximize operations with fewer resources, contractors should learn to operate in a way that requires them to build, manage, and organize resources to the highest level of efficiency, which includes incorporating technology.
Investing in technology has multiple benefits, including improving project efficiency and attracting younger workers.
Optimizing Resources: Through the use of technology, contractors can constantly monitor all aspects of a project. Construction project management platforms allow contractors to have increased visibility into the most up-to-date information about their projects. Updated software combined with modernized equipment has made completing projects with fewer resources a reality.
Attracting New Workers: Contractors should look to younger cohorts to fill the void created by older generations leaving the industry, and one way to attract them is through the adoption of technology. Contractors can appeal to a more tech-savvy generation by providing them with tools that help them be more efficient and reduce job-related stress. Millennials and Gen Z simply expect technology to be incorporated into their job. Take Sage, for example. The accounting and business management software has become such a mainstay in modern construction that many young, talented workers have come to expect it if they are job hunting.
SOFTWARE TO HELP SOLVE PROBLEMS
Recently, RedTeam Software, a collaborative project management platform for commercial contractors, and Sage integrated to provide complete visibility into every facet of a construction project.
RedTeam’s integration with Sage 100 Contractor and Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate offers contractors a better business experience, giving its users the ability to manage an entire project lifecycle from business development or preconstruction, all the way to project management, scheduling, field management, and cost control.
The integration between RedTeam and Sage is an example of the type of technology that will give general contractors—and all those involved in a construction project—the flexibility and efficiency needed to make the most out of limited resources while remaining highly competitive to job seekers.
So, what’s next for the construction industry? During 2019, construction-specific technology advancements were extremely prevalent, and 2020 will be no different. Contractors should expect to see an uptick in software collaborations like RedTeam and Sage, where different technologies can enhance each other’s offerings. By implementing this type of integrated technology, construction professionals can feel better equipped to tackle a lack of resources and attract the best of the best when it comes to the modern workforce.
Rather than fearing the unknown, construction professionals instead need to get creative with their resources and embrace collaborative technology for the help it provides, regardless of the state of the industry.
About the author:
Michael Wright is the CEO of RedTeam Software. With a background as a commercial general contractor with hands-on experience in all aspects of commercial construction, Wright developed RedTeam as a comprehensive cloud-based solution for construction projects and accounting management built for contractors by contractors. For more, visit www.redteam.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, January 2020
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