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even in construction, are becoming

                                                                                      the new normal. However, finding and

                                                                                      keeping the right IT talent is a challenge,

                                                                                      especially in an industry that faces

                                                                                      fluctuating demand for its services.

                                                                                      “The mix of skills that we need in order

                                                                                      to deliver the business will change as

                                                                                      we more intensively deploy technology-

                                                                                      led solutions,” says Costain’s Bowen.

                                                                                      “This is something that we have to be

                                                                                      very mindful of going forward.” The

                                                                                      construction industry will have to call

                                                                                      on a whole new talent pool, not just in

                                                                                      the future but immediately, and must

                                                                                      find innovative ways to navigate these

                                                                                      changing talent dynamics.

                                                                                      Willis Towers Watson’s 2016

                                                                                      Global Talent Management and

                                                                                      Rewards Study, which included 990

                                                                                      construction participants, found that

                                                                                      technology has enabled 69 per cent of

                                                                                      construction companies to use more

                                                                                      non-employee talent.

                                                                                      “The more technology you have, the

                                                                                      more millennials you can attract. I think

generational diversity. The industry’s      inclination of younger generations to     we are going down that road,” says

low investment in people and skills,        go into dynamic careers, where they       Structure Tone’s Phillips. “Operations are

coupled with its inability to attract       can be challenged and valued. A UK        not only more efficient, but technology

younger workers, means that it will         government construction report found      is making this an exciting place to work,

likely see substantial labor shortfalls in  that construction has low job appeal for  and we are retaining employees. We are

many markets. The average age of a          millennials compared to other industries capturing the imagination of the young

construction worker is well above those     and is suffering from an image problem.   people and they want to be part of what

of other industries, so it’s no surprise    Company culture and working practices we are building, which is encouraging.”

that construction companies have            must align to demographic shifts if the

concerns about their talent strategies.     industry wants to entice future workers.  Ten-year outlook

The financial crisis may have been          But demographic shifts do not             Workforce issues will likely remain an

the tipping point for labor shortages.      produce uniform consequences. Youth in important issue for the industry over

Developed nations were hard hit,            emerging markets are more likely to seek the next ten years. Respondents cite

construction slowed significantly,          employment in the construction industry,  continuing shortages of key talent, high

and many who lost jobs turned to            which is often seen as respectable and    labor costs and reform laws as the top

alternative sources of employment.          a stable source of employment. These      future risks within this megatrend.

“In the US, so many people in their 30s countries have much lower generational        Making the industry more attractive

and 40s left the construction industry      diversity, says STFA’s Akkaya.            to the younger generation is going to

completely, and when it recovered as        “We don’t suffer from a lack of           be a major challenge. That, coupled

the economy picked up, they had gone        talented people in Turkey. We don’t       with new digital skillset requirements,

to different things,” explains Structure    have that age gap like in Europe and the  will likely force companies to rethink

Tone's Phillips. “The challenge in the next US. In Turkey, there are a lot of young   their approach to talent. Pursuing the

year will be filling that gap. Millennials  people, and construction is a reputable   right strategy has never been more

don’t want to be in a field swinging a      industry. So young and talented people    important. But technological progress

hammer; they want to be in an office        are willing to work in construction.”     can provide construction with the

designing things.”                                                                    opportunity it needs to offer a wider

Recent geopolitical events aren’t           The digital skills demand                 array of roles that are more appealing

helping the labor shortage either.          The construction industry has been slow   to future workers.

In the UK, the skills gap has taken         to adopt technology, but digital tools,

on new significance since the EU

referendum because the industry             Only 38 per cent of construction employees
relies heavily on EU workers.

   As Balfour Beatty’s Quinn stresses:      think their organization provides career
“We have to bring people in [to the         planning tools and resources that are helpful
UK] because we don’t have the
skills.” Quinn alludes to the increasing

                                                                                      —Willis Towers Watson,

26                                                             Global Talent Management and
                                                                                      Rewards Study 2016
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