Angelica Krystle Donati, head of business development at Donati SPA, explores four ways the construction industry can tackle its ageing workforce problem and attract young talent
Many countries and industries are grappling with the problem of an ageing workforce.
According to statistics from The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), the UK construction industry is rapidly ageing, with the number of people over 60 growing faster than any other age group.
This will have a significant impact on the sector since key skills are lost as staff retire, and fewer young professionals are entering the workforce to replace retirees.
The industry also risks losing a significant teaching resource, since older workers frequently use their knowledge and experience to assist in the development of newcomers.
Even before the pandemic hit, the industry was facing the problem of skills shortages – construction has not been attracting enough skilled personnel to meet its growing demand.
One thing’s for sure, attracting and retaining young talent will be vital for business sustainability and viability across the sector.
Here are four key steps the construction industry must follow to tackle the ageing workforce conundrum and attract young talent: education, sustainability, marketing, and technology.
The industry is struggling to attract the next generation of workers to a sector that many consider unappealing and antiquated. Education and training is critical reversing this trend and attracting new skills and younger personell.
This includes integrating construction education earlier in schools to provide young students with a greater understanding of the industry, the entire employment process, and what a career in the sector looks like.
An essential topic to bring young people closer to the world of construction is that of sustainability.
Sustainable construction means using renewable and recyclable materials when building new structures, as well as reducing energy consumption and waste. The main purpose of sustainable building is to reduce the industry’s environmental impacts.
With construction and the built environment together accounting for 40% of global CO2 emissions and producing 30% of waste in Europe, anybody participating in the industry should understand the importance of sustainability to the sector’s future.
Setting an example and adopting more sustainable building practices is sure to attract younger workers to the industry.
Construction companies recognise the need to incorporate marketing into their business strategies in order to respond not just to industry changes, but also to meet client requests while remaining competitive and enhancing their company strategy.
Construction marketing has always been challenging, but it is an investment that will pay off if done correctly and will help attract and encourage future generations to pursue careers in the industry.
This can be done by establishing appealing websites, embracing social media, building interesting partnership opportunities, and hosting webinars and in-person seminars.
Construction company owners have been forced to accept device-driven technology in favour of conventional “handshake” exchanges, as the new era of technology takes over everything from communication to project proposals.
Finally, there is an increasing need to adopt more efficient technologies. Young entrepreneurs, startups, and technological developments have the ability to bridge the skills gap in the sector.
Incorporating new technology into the construction industry is a no brainer, as it is proven to substantially alter the workforce’s age demographic, in addition to all of the other benefits that going digital delivers.
About the author: A proptech and contech expert, Angelica Krystle Donati (pictured) is head of business development at Donati S.p.A, an Italian construction company that has been working in the field of civil construction, infrastructure works, and historical building restoration for over 40 years. Angelica is president of ANCE Giovani, Italy’s national constructor’s association.
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