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  • Writer's pictureJohn Macedo

Skill May Not Make Money or Increase Construction Work Productivity

Updated: May 27, 2022

Construction workers get paid for something else. Find out what.

More skill/experience means that you may be able to carry out your responsibilities in a more effective/efficient manner.

▶️When you ask for a pay rise based on skill, the skill doesn't mean anything, but what matters is what you can do with it. In this case, what it means is that you should be accountable for greater production, therefore, more responsibility.

Skills are key performance indicators of work productivity in construction companies

Work productivity is a key indicator of a construction company's performance. Many factors contribute to construction work productivity, but skills are one of the most important.

Construction workers who have the right skills can complete tasks more quickly and efficiently, resulting in better quality work. In addition, construction workers who are skilled in their trade are less likely to make mistakes, which can save time and money in the long run.

✅While many factors contribute to construction work productivity, it is clear that skills are essential. construction companies that invest in developing their employees' skills will likely see a boost in profitability and improve productivity.


Let's imagine you work for a construction company and you're looking to increase your construction labourer wages. You have gained lots of skills in your job over the years and now you can clean faster/better.

✳️For that reason, you asked for a pay rise. If your boss says YES - he/she would implicitly be holding you accountable for a greater standard (faster or better quality).

Considering that you have already acquired the skill and you improve productivity, you are asking for a pay rise and because you're delivering more than when you just started, your boss may simply update his/her level of expectation to your current level of skill.

​👉🏻In other words:

When you’ve just started you were cleaning 1 room per hour.

The boss was happy.

You gained skills and got faster and can increase productivity, and now you clean 2 rooms per hour. You asked for a fair pay rise and you’ve got it.

Now your boss expects 2 rooms per hour and he's still pretty happy about it. So now it's time to "send the bill".


As a suggestion, before you make your move ask for a pay rise based on your skill improvements, and gather the data that supports your improvements.

➡️If you could do X and now you do 2 times X, let your boss know that. If there were activities that you didn't perform but now you do perform, make sure your boss knows that too.


Your boss may argue that he accounted for improvements and even invested in your training from the start (This may be a fair statement or not). When negotiating, your outcome is to do the right thing for you and the company. Be ready to make a point and be ready to understand the company's side.

⚡This works regardless if you're working for a labour hire company, a construction company, or any other type of company. It also is independent of your rank.


Let's consider that the tide didn't turn in your favor this time.

Use this opportunity to clarify with the company manager what the levels of performance would justify a pay rise. (you may have to assume more responsibilities as well). This will give you a clear career plan that you can follow and also a metric to evaluate your achievements.


A common - but unfortunate - scenario that often happens in the construction industry is:

A worker gains more skills and asks for a pay rise, followed closely by the boss denying him the raise.

It leads some workers to DROP their performance to what is the judge to be fair for the current pay rate. In situations where a worker cannot unlearn a skill, they can only drop their performance by slacking at work. As a consequence, the boss notices that the worker is not being professional, or working at his/her peak, which can be distressing.

✳️On the other hand

The employee does not feel valued by the management, like general contractors, and gets upset too.

Usually, this problem leads to a stressful encounter for both ends in real time.

The employee wants more money to raise his performance - and the Boss wants more performance to justify the pay rise (now even more than before, to compensate for the loss of trust due to the slacking). As you may guess, this trap usually gets someone fired.

⚠️ The sole problem here is poor communication, meaning: no negotiation.

As a worker or boss, do the best that you can to keep the communication line open one way and clearly state what you expect as pay/performance. Do not let yourself fall into the fire trap.


Don't fear negotiating the acquiring of a new skill or gaining new responsibilities with your boss. Remember it's good for him too as a value-added!


▶️When I was a general labourer working for a construction company supply chains, I was considering becoming a truck driver and I negotiated it with the bosses at the time. The deal was: I was going to get myself a truck diver license (from my own pocket) and the company would allow me to drive the trucks for training off site.

Turns out that I wouldn't be able to get the pay rise until I was, at least, a decent driver, meaning that I would have to drive at a decent speed, load and unload the truck in a proper and safe manner, not getting fined by state polices and definitely not crashing. I considered what they’ve set as a standard and I estimated that it would take me about 6 months to complete it*.

▶️After I did a fair bit of reflection and research, based on the price he gave me as payment, I ended up not pursuing the truck driving path. If I had negotiated a better pay raise for truck driving maybe things would have turned out differently. A “way leads to another”, so who knows?

*Maybe you don't want to wait that long. Consider negotiating a smaller raise in 3 months on some less ambitious goals. Or maybe you’re going for the big pot in a year-long project or other future projects. It's up to you to draw your strategy and reduce the waste of your time and energy.

✳️I Became an Excavator Operator instead - Then I opened Spades Labour Hire.

Skills can improve work productivity and work hours in construction projects

In any work setting, having the right skills can make a big difference in terms of work productivity. This is especially true in construction, where accuracy and precision are essential.

✅With the right skills, workers can complete tasks more quickly and with fewer errors. As a result, working hours can be reduced and work productivity can be increased. In addition, skills can also help to improve in real time the safety of construction sites and contribute to project teams' success.

By being able to work more efficiently, workers can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. Ultimately, developing and honing job-specific skills can have a positive impact on work productivity and work hours in construction project management.

Acquiring new skills has little to no impact on labor productivity

✳️A central tenet of economics is that increases in labor productivity lead to increases in output and improvements in living standards (Mankiw, 2018). There is therefore significant interest in whether acquiring new skills can impact labor productivity and, by extension, the global economy.

While it is reasonable to expect that acquiring new skills would have a positive impact on labor productivity, research suggests that the effect is often muted or negligible. This is likely due to a combination of external and internal factors.

External factors such as competition from other workers or changes in technology can limit the impact of an individual worker's increased productivity. Internal factors such as poor work habits or a lack of motivation can also offset the benefits of new skills.

✳️In some cases, the acquisition of new skills may even have a negative impact on labor productivity. For example, workers who receive training for a specific task may be less productive when asked to perform a different task. Overall, while acquiring new skills is often touted as a panacea for economic ills, the evidence suggests that the impact is often overstated.

For Employers, when it comes to construction projects, there are a lot of moving parts. construction management software can help construction managers keep track of all the different aspects of a project, including budgeting, scheduling, and progress tracking.

This software can also help construction managers to better understand their workers' skills and abilities. By understanding which workers are better at certain tasks, construction managers can assign tasks more efficiently and ensure that construction projects are completed on time and within budget. In addition, construction management software can help construction managers to improve their communication with workers.

By providing employees with personalized content based on their skills and interests, construction managers can ensure that workers are engaged and motivated to do their best work. In short, construction management software can have a positive impact on both the efficiency and quality of construction projects.


Regardless what is your role in the construction industry, always make sure you pursue goals that you are happy about and make sure you don't fight the battles that you gain nothing by winning.


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