How would you like having to get up too early to go wait for a job you feel like you aren’t getting paid enough to do? For most of us, a prospect like that doesn’t sound terribly appealing, but for construction workers looking for work using temporary labour agencies, that’s sometimes the unfortunate reality.
“The industry hasn’t changed in a very long time. It’s still to the point where workers are lining up at [5:30 a.m.to 6 a.m.] to be looking for temporary construction jobs,” said John Reid, UBC student and co-founder of the software platform Labour Today.
Reid and co-founder Justin Locke, a UBC alumnus, launched their beta platform in April as a way to address this problem and provide a better way to connect contractors and labourers.
Reid and Locke knew this problem firsthand from personal experience.
“These contractors are calling these agencies expecting to get a quality worker, but really, if someone is lining up at [5:30 a.m. and] getting to your site by 8 a.m., they’ve already been up for three hours, they’re definitely tired [and] they necessarily don’t want to be there,” said Reid.
With Labour Today, labourers can simply create an online profile that allows them to then search for full-time, part-time or temporary jobs posted by contractors without having to leave home.
The platform has a rating and review system so that users are able to see other people’s past experiences and can get a clear idea of who they will potentially be working for or hiring. Labour Today also guarantees an $18 hourly wage, which according to Reid, is higher than what labourers would find with other temporary labour agencies. In addition, they also insure all labourers that use the platform through Work Safe BC so they are covered
On the whole, the company promises a better experience for both contractors and labourers.
The software has already seen use by Urban One Builders on the new Brock Commons project, facilitating the employment of up to 13 labourers a day at the peak of construction.
Going forward, Reid said the company is hoping for a November launch of their app for both iOS and Android, and increased functionality that could include educational opportunities as well as project management and accounting features.
The biggest challenge Reid can see in the future is encouraging people to embrace this new way of connecting contractors and labourers. In an industry that has remained so static in its hiring practices, change won’t happen on its own.
Update October 26: Labour Today has changed their name Faber.