Construction company use robotic solution to staffing shortage-Hong Kong

Two sets of exoskeleton systems purchased from Japan will enable workers to perform heavy lifting with ease.
At a cost of HK$200,000 each, the wearable machines will arrive in the city in the coming months and can be used at any construction site to complete tasks such as tiling and welding.

Gilbert Tsang, an executive director, said the technology may also lure more women into the industry, as it would help to eliminate the perception that construction jobs all require immense physical strength.
Human resources chief Edmond Lai revealed the company is currently looking to employ 292 female workers, compared to 132 six years ago. He said a flexible working schedule is provided so they could rush home after work to handle household chores.
The robotic solution comes as the contractor announced it needs nine per cent more workers, following its latest survey in April. A similar poll by the Hong Kong Construction Association in June put the figure at 9.65 per cent for the whole industry, which employs 376,000 workers.

Chief executive Thomas Ho On-sing said the situation is especially dire for certain skilled workers, citing a 16 per cent shortage for plumbers, a five-year high. He expects the manpower shortage will continued for at least two years.
Executive director Kevin O’Brien explained the upsurge in demand for plumbers may be a result of the lead-in-water scandal last year, which affected 11 public housing estates across the city. “Replacement work for the affected plumbing systems, as well as an increased level of scrutiny on the trade means more plumbers are needed than before,” he added.
But Ho insisted government backing is essential to fund research and development, and suggested the setting up of an innovation centre so that local university experts can play a bigger role in fostering industry development.

Source – South China Morning Post

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