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Foreman

Foreman

The construction industry is facing the problem of a severe labour shortage, caused by the ageing of frontline workforce and commencement of ten major infrastructure projects. In view of this issue, the construction industry has increased wages for its workers and attracted many secondary school graduates and even university graduates to enter the industry. Industry insiders said that the problem of manpower shortage is getting severer, especially for positions like construction supervisors which are in high demand. Government and railway companies need to hire a crew of site supervisors while for private developments, a certain quantity of technicians, including supervisors and draftsmen must be recruited according to the Supervision Plan of the Buildings Department. Industry insiders believe that the chief cause for labour shortage is the succession gap resulted from Hong Kong’s education system. While the new generation aspires for higher education, fewer young people are willing to work as construction supervisors. The shortage of middle- and low-level technical personnel is bigger than that of engineers.

Some people may be limited by the old ways of thinking that it is a waste for post-secondary degree holders to work in construction sites. But in fact, there are different types of jobs in the construction industry. For instance, construction supervision, which requires management skills, could be a big challenge even to post-secondary degree holders. In recent years, some MBA graduates who are unsatisfied with the wages and benefits in the business sector decided to switch their career and enroll in programs on construction supervision.

A construction apprentice recalled, “A mentor once said to us: ‘Some people may be spending their life savings on the houses we build. How can we possibly give them problematic houses?’ This is when I came to realize the responsibility of a construction practitioner and began to study harder.” Construction work is indeed very significant and respectable.

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