1Q 2023

Skilled Labor Shortages Impact Smart Homes and Intelligent Buildings

Some smart infrastructure projects, including smart buildings and smart homes, will improve performance and reduce environmental impacts with purpose-built controllers, sensors, and smart machines. While homeowners can install some smart home projects, many more of them, and all smart building projects, require skilled labor for installation and maintenance.

The “Great Reshuffle” in labor brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has worsened an already existing skilled labor shortage, but its origins can be traced to government policies from the 1980s, when the workforce associated with creating goods declined precipitously. Accepting the status quo—the lack of skilled workers in construction—will blunt the impact of many desirable government programs, public-private partnerships, and private efforts associated with installing smart systems. This will, in turn, jeopardize the timeframes for installing these systems and make some projects unviable, financially.

This Guidehouse Insights study identifies a range of ways to overcome this undesirable situation. It suggests that hiring organizations increase wages across the board for construction workers. Analysis shows that real wages for construction have decreased in the past decade despite increasing demand and worsening skill shortages. It recommends that construction subcontractors who make up much of this labor force, abandon conventional HR practices and focus on nurturing employee loyalty from all productive employees.

Pages 14
Tables | Charts | Figures 4
  • How does the Great Resignation/Great Reshuffle in labor affect smart projects?
  • How did the skilled labor shortage for smart infrastructure develop?
  • Which smart home elements can a homeowner install and which require skilled labor?
  • What are the solutions for smart buildings and what are the skills needed for them?
  • What can be done about the skill shortage in the short and long term?
  • Construction trade organizations
  • Smart home equipment manufacturers
  • Commercial and/or industrial building owners and managers
  • Commercial and/or industrial building automation systems manufacturers
  • Commercial and/or industrial building automation systems integrators
  • Master systems integrators
  • Regulators




Labor Shortages Have Been Decades in The Making and the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Made the Situation Worse

The Problem of Employee Shortages from the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Well Known

Employers of Skilled Professionals Have a Greater Challenge

The Current Labor Situation Is Acute for Construction Companies

The Skilled Labor Shortage Is Not a New Problem

The Skills Involved in Smart Infrastructure Are in Short Supply and Increasing Demand Will Worsen the Shortages

Installing and Maintaining Building Automation Systems Requires Both Physical and Computing Skills

Skill Level Needed for Most Smart Home Jobs Is Significant

Challenging Conventional Wisdom Is Necessary to Avoid Large Delays in Implementing Smart Infrastructure

Organizations Must Plan to Pay More for Labor

Contractors Should Eliminate Personnel Policies That Inhibit Retaining Productive Employees—Including Those at The Low End

Building Owners and Operators Should Consider Outsourcing the Resources to Build out Smart Infrastructure

Smart Infrastructure Manufacturers Should Develop Products that Enable Less-Skilled Labor to Install and Commission Their Offerings

New Home Builders Should Invest in All the Technology Associated with Smart Homes

  • Commercial Building Automation Revenue by Segment: 2022-2031
  • Smart Home Device Revenue by Technology, World Markets: 2022-2031
  • Smart Commercial Building Automation Systems and Other Connected Systems
  • Level of Skill Needed to Integrate Elements into a Smart Home
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