What recruitment can gain from upskilling the construction workforce 

What recruitment can gain from upskilling the construction workforce 

Construction is the largest industry in the world making up more than 13% of GDP globally, but despite this, the industry is facing one of the most prevalent skills shortages. As the industry continues to evolve, so are the skills required to keep pace with the changes. Upskilling the construction workforce is a solution to bridge the skills gap and provide an array of benefits to both employers and employees. Richard Clement, Deputy General Manager at Smart Construction, shares what recruitment can gain from upskilling the construction workforce. 

Richard Clement, Deputy General Manager at Smart Construction

What recruitment challenges is the construction industry currently facing? 

The construction industry is digitalising fast as it has a lot of catching up to do with other industries, which requires the workforce to become more tech-savvy. This is key to resolving multiple recruitment challenges, including a shortage of skilled workers, revitalising an aging workforce, and battling the difficulties in attracting younger generations into the field. 

An aging workforce who are due to retire paired with a lack of young talent is proving to be an issue for the industry. According to Pier Recruit, 83% of the construction sector is reporting difficulties in recruitment as there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill vacant positions. This shortage of skilled workers has led to significant challenges for construction companies which are struggling to find the right candidates to fill their job vacancies. 

Clement said: ‘’The pandemic had a huge impact on the construction industry, and although there has been some improvement lately, there are still long-term repercussions, such as a shortage of workers due to early retirements and people leaving the industry. This has resulted in a number of vacancies that need to be filled, putting pressure on the existing workforce. 

“However, both the government and private organisations are taking initiatives to promote training and development, with a special emphasis on attracting younger people towards the industry. This will help address the issue in the long run, but there is still a long way to go.’’ 

How can upskilling the workforce eliminate these challenges? 

Upskilling the workforce is essential in eliminating future recruitment challenges and costs. As the industry becomes more technologically advanced, construction professionals need to be equipped with the right knowledge and skills to implement this. This will allow processes to run smoothly, maximising profitability and ultimately saving time. 

Upskilling and training can often be seen as a negative with workers being off-site for days at a time which can have a knock-on effect on profit and project timelines. However, the industry’s suppliers are doing their best to make digital solutions that are easy to use and require minimal training, like Smart Construction’s Dashboard. This solution means workers require minimal training and managers see maximum results, ensuring job sites continue to run smoothly whilst strengthening your workforce. 

Clement added: ‘’Investing in the workforce’s development can increase employee retention by making employees feel more valued. When teams receive training and development opportunities, they tend to become more loyal to a business and perform better in their respective fields. This, in turn, reduces future recruitment costs, improves employee retention, improves the future workforce and lowers employee replacement costs.’’ 

By investing in training and development, employers can encourage young workers into the industry and ensure that the workforce is equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the changing demands of the market. 

He continued: “The industry will require workers who are proficient in using digital tools, data analytics and other advanced technologies to drive innovation and productivity. By upskilling and reskilling the workforce, the construction industry can ensure it remains competitive and meets the changing demands of the market.’’ 

The future of the workforce 

‘’With the rise of automation, robotics, and other advanced technologies, construction professionals will need to acquire new skills and knowledge to remain comapetitive and relevant in the field,” concluded Clement.  

It has been estimated that more than half a million construction workers will retire in the next 10-15 years. This is expected to create an additional 34,500 job vacancies by 2028. To ensure that the workforce is futureproof, it is important to encourage young people to enter industry. By investing in training and development programmes, as well as upskilling workers to be comfortable with new technology in the industry, there is an opportunity to work together to combat the skills shortage and create a new generation for the workforce of digitally literate and forward-thinking innovators.  

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