According to an article in Advertising Age, a leading marketing trade publication, many leaders in the construction industry are working to re-shape its image and are developing strategies that will attract a younger demographic. The reason for the new initiative is that 74% of construction firms say they are having difficulty finding workers for a variety of positions. The video game generation is believed to be a potentially fertile pool of qualified workers.
“Construction work is somewhat different from what it was,” said Ken Simonson, economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, in the article. “There is much more use of laser and GPS-guided equipment, building-information modeling and other things that require computer skills and use of technology that was not common before the recession.”
With such precise skills needed for the new age of construction, many experts believe that the thousands of hours that the younger generation spends on video games will prove useful for the industry. There have been several verified studies that proved that video-gaming enhances spatial attention and eye-hand coordination. In this day and age of heavy equipment operation, it is vitally important for operators to have a high-level ability for very technical tasks that resemble those experienced playing video games. Operating a mobile crane is an example of a piece of heavy equipment where a high-level of hand-eye coordination is vital.
“The construction industry is continually evolving and we have seen evidence that students in our training programs who have a lot of gaming experience perform well when eye-hand coordination is a part of what they are asked to do,” says Jarad Van Wagoner, Director of Development, North America Heavy Equipment Training Services (NAHETS). “We also are doing our part to attract new workers into the industry because we understand the challenges that some companies are facing when it comes to recruitment. The good news is that once a company hires a new worker, they can work with our company and we can quickly train him or her and have them performing at a high-level, very quickly and effectively.”
In addition to our efforts at NAHETS, several trade groups, retailers and construction firms are supporting major marketing and recruiting campaigns and/or implementing their own programs to entice new workers. One of the most notable is being spearheaded by Mike Rowe, star of the hit television show, Dirty Jobs. He has created Mike Rowe Works, a foundation which offers scholarships to promote hard work and support skilled trades. He also partnered with Go Build Alabama, an initiative by the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute that shows the worker as “hero” and tries to change the perception of construction as dirty, labor-intensive work.
We believe it shouldn’t just be a branding campaign that reveals construction workers as heroes — the construction industry is the back-bone of America and the workers who dedicate themselves to building a better country should be saluted. Companies can contact us for the training of new recruits or anyone interested in a career operating heavy equipment can contact us and get started on a training program today.