A labor foreman manages workers in the performance of both skilled and unskilled labor. He is in charge of scheduling work, monitoring a project's progress and giving jobs final approval upon completion. His job is usually in the areas of construction, maintenance or other environments that typically employ manual laborers.
Project and employee management skills are needed to be a competent labor foreman. She must assess the categories of jobs that need to be performed, assign appropriate personnel to carry out tasks that match their areas of expertise and supervise the workers' performance. She has to have good oral and written communication skills to interact with her superiors and crews, and prepare daily reports on the progress of the project.
A labor foreman normally starts his day by reviewing orders received from his boss and making sure he has workers at his disposal with the skill sets needed to do the job. He is expected to accurately forecast how many workers he needs and how long each phase of the project will take. Once these assessments are made, he assigns tasks and makes sure everyone is clear on what needs to be done. He is commonly required to submit progress reports to his superior on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the longevity of the job.
Work conditions vary significantly depending on the nature of the project the labor foreman is supervising. She may work indoors or outdoors, and may be required to work in inclement weather. If the project covers multiple locations, she is required to travel to each job site to check on the work in progress. Attire is usually casual for manual labor supervision. The work hours may be long or irregular based on the type of work and project deadlines.
A high school diploma or equivalent is required to be a labor foreman. Vocational or trade school training in a field related to the labor involved is considered an asset for labor foreman job applicants. Knowledge gained through previous supervisory positions is desirable.
Salary and Advancement Opportunities
A labor foreman can earn higher salary ranges by increasing his knowledge of different types of manual labor and demonstrating good supervisory and leadership abilities. He may also be able to procure jobs that put him in charge of larger crews, which normally represents higher wages. According to http://www.cbsalary.com, the average salary in the United States in 2009 for a construction labor foreman was $58,496.