Will site managers (have to) replace foremen one day?

April 29, 2022

More than 50 percent of German companies see the impending shortage of skilled workers as the greatest threat to the development of their business. In the construction industry, the shortage of skilled workers hits foremen first. Almost every general construction company has job advertisements for foremen on its website, while the current workforce in this occupational group is hardly younger than 45. 

The cause - High demand, low supply

Since the shortage of skilled workers is a complex issue that cannot be fully covered here, we will limit ourselves to what we consider to be the three most important points for the occupational field of foreman:

  • Lack of attractiveness of education: More and more school graduates are being led - desired by education policy - onto the academic path. Young people with a university degree rarely choose an apprenticeship occupation. Physically demanding apprenticeship occupations in particular are being chosen less and less often. In 2020, demand for dual training places reached a new low of 439,300 according to the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training.
  • Subcontracting work to foreign subcontractors: While foremen have many years of experience in the building trade, there is hardly any internal supply of skilled workers, as most of the work is now subcontracted for reasons of capacity and cost. This means that internal know-how is no longer built up and the wealth of experience gained cannot be retained within the company.
  • Increase in incoming orders: While the supply of skilled workers is steadily decreasing, the demand is increasing. Order books are full and construction companies are struggling with capacity bottlenecks.


The consequences - Prepare for change now!

The effects are already clearly noticeable: If a foreman is absent, he cannot usually be replaced and the responsible site managers are forced to stop important coordination activities and step in. Costly delays are the result. The outlook for the near future is even bleaker, because the average retirement age of skilled workers in construction is 59. So there is little time to prepare.

The solution - site managers replace foremen

oculai is increasingly observing a merging of the foreman and site manager professions in the construction industry. What initially appears to be a mammoth task turns out to be an opportunity at the same time: more efficient coordination & less loss of information on the construction site can unlock undreamed-of efficiency potentials with the expertise and planning responsibility of site managers. However, this is only possible through time relief, which can be ensured by intelligent construction cameras, for example. These are mounted at high positions and, through image recognition, record the construction progress fully automatically and recognise deliveries. Training or intervention in existing processes is therefore not necessary.

Site managers are thus automatically informed about ordered deliveries and always have an overview of ongoing processes. With the help of live images from a bird's eye view, time-consuming site tours are also saved. With oculai, site managers (with foreman tasks) already save up to eight hours per week. Construction companies thus increase their efficiency and also get a grip on the shortage of skilled workers.

You can find out more about the oculai solution on our product page. We would also be happy to show you live how we convert your construction sites to future-proof with intelligent cameras. Simply contact us.

Constantin Kauffmann