Should the Construction Industry fear Digitalisation?

digital futures

The construction industry is experiencing profound efficiencies and cost savings following the advent of digitalisation.

In a recent report by Kenneth Baker – the past Cabinet Minister – he outlined his fears of the future, positioning up to 15 million jobs being at risk by 2025.

What does it mean for the construction industry?

“From big data to ultra-fast robots, the digital revolution is already happening”

Whilst this is a valuable and seminal document, it is also a wakeup call for all industries to prepare for tomorrows economy, and the training and education of tomorrows youngsters.

Given the construction industry has experienced an ongoing trend of young people lacking the motivation to enter our industry, I challenge that this revolution will offer a mixed blessing.

Might we now get the pick of the crop?

Digital Futures

Kenneth’s report predicted that the type of jobs that will be in demand in the near future are in technical management. Whilst his predictions show net change in employment declining in Construction, technical management is the exact premise that our entire industry revolves around.  Given that this is in complete alignment with the report recommendations, we should as an industry see benefit from the changing economy and employment structure.

Current and future skills the construction industry needs

Here is a list of the core skills required to work in our industry, now, and tomorrow:

–          Reasoning

–          The ability to examine and solve problems

–          Experience of working in teams

–          An ability to make data-based decisions – being ‘data savvy’

–          Social skills – particularly the confidence to talk and engage

–          The skills of critical thinking, active listening, presentation and persuasion

–          Practical skills: the ability to make and do things for real

–          Basic business knowledge

Baker’s report also comprehensively positions that education should adopt a new curriculum, similar to that currently offered by University Technical Colleagues (UTC’s). The syllabus blends traditional academic subjects with technical specialisms and project-based learning. The close ties to universities and employers ensure that students see the relevance of what they are learning: thanks to employers, their learning becomes authentic.

As an approach, this concept of education works commendably well for us in Construction, and should increasingly make us as an industry, more attractive to the young students of the future.

What does it mean for Pre-Construction?

For my part, I see digitalisation offering profound improvements in Pre-Construction. I see significant efficiency gains in bid team performance, that will start to become the expected norm.

As the use of cloud based bid management tools takes off, digital collaboration technology magnifies the importance of bid team expertise and judgement.

Digitalisation enables Knowledge Workers to perform at their highest level, and consequently become an integral part of business growth, not as all too often seen as an unnecessary operational overhead.

What is most important, is that digitalisation will increase the time available for bid teams’ solution development and problem solving. Through reducing the waste spent catching up and duplicating information across multiple systems and spreadsheets, more quality time can be leveraged to develop skills.

What is more, the time gained allows for the all-important relationship management communications, which is fundamental in successful bid management.

Those in Pre-Construction should not fear change, but enjoy a less frantic, less stress full work winning environment, where quality and professionalism count for more than the numbers of bids pumped out each month.

Kenneth’s report fills me with optimism, not dread.

Pre-Construction professionals who understand how to drive bid performance in a digital manner will be in great demand, and I look forward to the revitalised and efficient industry that is now on its way to us.

If you want to know more about how we can help your bid teams achieve profound win rates, please get in contact today at www.myconsole.co.uk.

https://www.data.org.uk/news/the-digital-revolution-lord-kenneth-baker-s-new-report-and-8-point-plan-for-education/

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