What Is a Superforeman and How Can You Get One?
Learn how the right technology can help bridge the generational divide in the construction industry.
One of the latest challenges in the construction industry is a shortage of qualified labor. According to a study from the Wall Street Journal, 2016 construction employment is still lagging about 1.3 million jobs below its 2006-2007 level. And according to a survey published in The Business Journals, 80 percent of construction companies had a hard time finding qualified workers last year.
Of all the qualified construction workers needed, experienced general foremen have been one of the most sought-after and most difficult to find. Traditionally, the role of a general foreman is to work on behalf of a general contractor, overseeing the physical execution of specialized projects and installations by specific teams and tradesmen. In the 1990s, the typical general foreman had 20-30 years of experience under their belt. However, these days general foremen are more likely to have just 8 to 10 years of experience—a fact that makes some general contractors a bit nervous.
Many contractors have made significant efforts to fill the generation gap by recruiting older workers. In fact, according to the latest workforce report from the Census Bureau, construction workers aged 45-54 were the only group to show an increase in hiring from 2001-13.
These workers are coming from the union trades, so they do not have foreman experience per se. But what they do have is construction experience. This experience can be used to help compensate for the fact that general foremen are now trending so young. The older workers can serve in a sort of hybrid role of specialized superintendent/general foreman, or “superforeman”, helping to fill in gaps in applied build knowledge and leadership experience that the younger workers may have.
Technology Bridges the Generational Gap
According to the companies who have embraced this superforeman approach, technology is the key to making it work. The use of cloud-based construction management technology is reinvigorating veteran workers, allowing them to share their hard-earned knowledge while on the job in a way that the younger generation is receptive to. Using technology can also make it easier for the older workers to reduce their physical stresses while still continuing to contribute to the project in a high value role.
If you’re concerned about a lack of experience among younger foremen at your construction contracting business, you could definitely benefit from the superforeman approach. But before you start recruiting, you need to make sure you have the right cloud-based construction software in place. JDIO software for construction contractors is an excellent choice, because it contains all the functionalities needed to manage every aspect of a project in one secure, user-friendly application.
To request your free personalized online demo of JDIO, please contact us today.