Think of a construction worker and images of brawny, bare-knuckled laborers come to mind. Imagine a gamer and the mind’s eye pictures an unkempt, be-spectacled anti-social. Both stereotypes are old, old news. In today’s digital age, hiring gamers may very well be the solution to the labor shortage the construction industry is experiencing. And the good news is that, at this stage in the video game development timeline, virtually everyone in America is a gamer to some degree. So, although many technology trends in the construction industry focus on hardware and software, don’t forget about the user on the other end. Here’s why you may want to put questions about gaming somewhere on the interview script.
The National Academy of Science published a study that revealed interesting results. Gamers who prefer action games, as in war simulations, have a higher learning capacity than those who play non-action games. This is attributed to action game enthusiasts needing to develop accurate and lightning-fast predictive skills. For construction companies seeking management candidates, finding someone who can see further down the road, anticipate a problem and already have a strategy in place to resolve it is invaluable.
This is not a reference to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. It actually refers to three key skills every recruiter is looking for in a top-tier construction employee: math, technology, and engineering capabilities. It may not seem that gaming would have anything to do with enhancing these abilities. But MET skills are spatial skills, those skills that affect how a person relates to objects or space in relation to navigation, estimating and measuring distances, as well as understanding how fixed objects or equipment disrupt the space or contribute to the free-flow of movement. Gamers who like to shoot stuff not only have these skills enhanced while gaming, but the after-effects are long-lasting. Overall, gamers who play characters that run around and shoot moving targets don’t turn out to be crazed mass killers. They actually turn out to be career-oriented workers with a university-level mastery of STEM subjects. In an industry where expertise in STEM-related subjects is crucial, gamers have what you’re looking for.
Engineers and architects will find it easy to appreciate the creative flair gaming develops in players. However, project managers should not overlook the value of having a team member that can quickly develop creative solutions to problems out in the field. Independent innovation can mean the difference between a jobsite grinding to a halt or plodding along on schedule. But instead of creative minds being linked with shooting and warfare games, these minds are shaped by non-violent games that feature color vibrancy, fun music and nonsensical themes where the competition takes place. Mario Kart is a prime example.
If low morale shows up at a job site a company can expect low productivity to quickly ensue. One of the contributing factors to low morale among workers is the individual attitude. A Negative Nellie or Crabby Craig will quickly drag everyone down with them. Hire a gamer and a company is more likely to get someone who has a positive attitude. But again, the key interview question to ask is what kind of game does the gamer play? Positive Pollies and Happy Hanks prefer puzzle games. That’s because they are gaming for relaxation. They don’t like conflict or stress. Kicking back and using their noodle to navigate an imaginary world and solve its problems gives them great pleasure and feelings of accomplishment.
Regardless of the differences between games and the various skills they equip users with, all gamers have one thing in common: they are technically capable. As contractors adapt new technologies into their way of doing business, they need laborers who are not intimidated by tablets, laptops, and smartphones. Companies need employees who are already adept at navigating prompts and understanding how most systems work. New hires who have familiarity with common technical lingo can quickly jump into the fray and start making contributions. Hire a gamer and you have an employee who requires minimal training for whatever digital solutions your company is using.
To find out more about how technology can solve your labor problems, please consult with industry leaders committed to software solutions in the world of construction.