A new report from Guidehouse Insights explores the impact of skilled labour shortages on smart homes and intelligent buildings.
The “Great Reshuffle” in labour brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has worsened an already existing skilled labour shortage, but its origins can be traced to government policies from the 1980s, when the workforce associated with creating goods declined precipitously. According to a new report from Guidehouse Insights, while the widespread lack of skilled labour and its effect on the global supply chain affect many markets, the effect on smart infrastructure is particularly acute. Intelligent buildings and smart homes—the core of smart infrastructure—rely on skilled and semi-skilled labour to construct and maintain their smart hardware and software.
“When experienced workers retire, move to management positions, or change industries altogether, the remaining labour force loses in several ways. Besides expertise leaving the labour pool, fewer people are on hand to train new hires or develop workers—and the remaining labour pool must work harder,” says William Hughes, principal research analyst with Guidehouse Insights. “Without focused attention on this situation, including fundamentally rethinking several established practices and policies, the situation will worsen and become a significant delay in the clean energy transition.”
Accepting the status quo—the lack of skilled workers in construction—will blunt the impact of many desirable government programs, public-private partnerships, and private efforts associated with installing smart systems. This will, in turn, jeopardize the timeframes for installing these systems and make some projects unviable, financially, according to the report.
The report, Skilled Labour Shortages Impact Smart Homes and Intelligent Buildings, identifies a range of ways to overcome this undesirable situation. It suggests that hiring organizations increase wages across the board for construction workers. Analysis shows that real wages for construction have decreased in the past decade despite increasing demand and worsening skill shortages. It recommends that construction subcontractors who make up much of this labour force, abandon conventional HR practices and focus on nurturing employee loyalty from all productive employees.