Data is fast becoming the core of the construction industry. Engineering and construction firms are racing to create data and analytics strategies to identify and predict problems in project delivery, reduce operational costs and resources, and manage increasingly complex projects such as the smart cities and buildings of the future.
It’s a fantastic time to work in construction. Rapid developments in the construction industry such as digitalization are also driving the need for new skills, making professionals with adaptive skills highly attractive. Construction is big business and should be considered an attractive industry to work in – according to a report by Oxford Economics output will grow by 85% to $15.5tn worldwide by 2030, meaning the industry will account for 14.7% of all global economic output.
Talent remains a critical challenge as labour shortages reach a crisis proportion. The US construction industry employs around 7.2 million professionals, the highest levels since the global financial crisis in 2008. Meanwhile unemployment has dropped to an 18-year low. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests while the number of job openings have almost doubled since 2014, the number of hires over the same period has increased by just 14%.
Along with the demand for talent to work on new projects, the US required significant upgrades to its existing infrastructure. Reports from the American Society of Civil Engineers give the US a D+ rating, indicating a deterioration of roads, bridges, transit, and water systems. However, in a survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), 80% of construction firms reported that they are struggling to fill the hourly craft positions that represent the majority of the construction workforce.
This rating and demand for modernization of the country’s cities and infrastructure presents a massive opportunity for engineering firms. It has been estimated that the value of US construction projects started in 2019 will amount to $808bn. This demand for talent and strong growth in the industry, presents a lucrative opportunity for engineers in the US, and highlights the necessity for firms to find the right talent.