Page 26 - Deconstructing risk
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W orkforce issues within                    You need a clear line of sight on how to
              the construction industry  develop people so that you can keep them.
              can have an effect on      We give workers more opportunities so
all megatrends in the Risk Index.        they can mature faster
Competition for employees with
strong digital skills, coupled with
the need for a global employee

network and the burden of disparate                                                                    —Peter Wallin, CFO, Skanska
labor laws have made workforce

issues ever more complex. The

industry is also saddled with certain    making ‘people risk’ inherently          perceptions of ineffective employee

preconceptions: an aging workforce,      difficult to manage in this industry.    development initiatives, a lack of

unsophisticated career development       The biggest risk identified in this      diversity in the workforce and low job

frameworks and a traditional image.      megatrend is “limited workforce          security. For an industry where just 9

Its attitude to workforce management diversity (includes ethnic, gender and       per cent of the workforce is female

and talent optimization has also not     generational diversity due to lack of    and employee turnover is close to 30

kept pace with changing dynamics         apprenticeships)”, which reflects the    per cent, it is no surprise that limited

across global markets. To compete        industry’s traditional workforce and     workforce diversity is the top risk of

effectively, the industry must act       lack of diversity. “Difficulty in attracting this megatrend.

quickly to alter perceptions and         and retaining key talent” and “shortage  “Diversity in the industry is

attract a new breed of talent.           of qualified, experienced staff”         probably one of the lowest, partly

“The construction industry is            place second and third respectively,     because people don’t know what the

probably one of the lower investors      pointing to concerns about the           opportunities are,” Quinn adds. The

in skills,” says Balfour Beatty’s        future availability of skilled workers.  way to survive the shortfall will be to

CEO Leo Quinn. Not surprisingly,         Modernizing talent strategies will       invest in training and reward programs,

construction executives rate             clearly become vital if companies        meaning companies must become

this megatrend the second most           want to attract a new generation of      more creative in how they think about

worrying in our Risk Index, with         experienced labor.                       attracting and retaining talent.

many executives commenting on                                                     “We have to ensure people don’t

the urgency with which it must be        Changing talent strategies               walk away from the industry,” says

addressed. But the cyclical nature       The construction industry is not         Stuart Olson's LeMay. “We need

of construction work leaves the          viewed as an attractive employer.        to actively promote what we have

sector vulnerable to labor issues.       While perceptions vary by country,       to offer. I don’t think we do a very

Subcontracting, difficulties in          construction is seen as suffering        good job. It’s more than a business

forecasting resource demand,             from limited innovation and a lack       risk, it’s an industry risk.” That being

and large-scale projects involving       of engagement compared to other          said, some industry-wide initiatives

thousands of workers are the norm,       industries. Contributing factors include are making significant progress in

                                                                                  addressing talent availability.

Workforce                                                                            “As an association, one of our
                                                                                  primary missions is to ensure that
                                                                                  everyone feels welcome to pursue
                                                                                  high-paying careers in construction,”
                                                                                  explains Stephen E. Sandherr,

management                                                                        CEO of The Associated General
                                                                                  Contractors of America. “That is why
                                                                                  we are committed to taking a lead
                                                                                  role in expanding the diversity of the

                                                                                  construction industry. To that end, we

and talent                                                                        have established a dedicated task
                                                                                  force that is crafting a comprehensive
                                                                                  plan for the association and its
                                                                                  members to attract, support and

                                                                                  nurture greater diversity within the

optimization                                                                      ranks of our member firms and the
                                                                                  industry at large.” Creating a diverse
                                                                                  workforce is an important first step
                                                                                  for construction companies to win the

                                                                                  war on talent.

Fixing the industry’s image problem, especially among                                “We started something called
                                                                                  The 5% Club,” says Quinn, “which
younger workers, is key to attracting and retaining talent is a public declaration that 5 per

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