Killing Two Birds With One Stone: Technology and Labor

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Robison Wells

We’ve spent a lot of time on this blog talking about two things: the slow, but increasing acceptance of technology into the construction industry, and the drastic labor shortage of skilled workers. But it may just be that the improvement of one will improve both.

Take the example of Vlad Rotaru, a 22-year-old mechanical engineer in Toronto, who, aside from his hardhat and personal protective equipment, considers his smartphone to be his most useful tool on the job. And for a generation that is growing up with devices and electronics, he’s not alone. He says the use of his cellphone on his job makes his work “just all around less tedious.”

His company is one of many that are switching over to more mobile-based solutions, connecting the back office to the worksite, allowing workers and managers to access both human resources information and jobsite applications from wherever they are. For Rotaru, it’s a matter of not having to climb six flights of stairs to check on a set of plans. For foremen, it’s being able to handle payroll without paper and pencil.

And these technologies are drawing younger people into the field. “I think having those technologies will definitely appeal to young people and probably will help in the recruitment,” said Shaun Thorsen, CEO Skills Canada. "We have this perception that these are second-tier occupations, and they're definitely not.”

Positioning these jobs as tech-based and STEM work, rather than manual labor, is attracting a whole new generation to the industry.

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