The world of work is constantly changing: new technologies, automation, changing demographics and different worker expectations and working patterns all mean that the recruitment industry needs to be constantly adapting and preparing for the future.
The REC’s Engineering and Construction sector groups met recently to form a joint infrastructure group. Over 60 members shared their thoughts and predictions for what the next five to seven years holds for the industry.
New technologies: threat or opportunity?
Whilst for many the future is uncertain, for others, the introduction of new technologies is having an impact and is likely to accelerate in the years ahead. Drones are already being used on building sites to quickly assess land and even make cost calculations! Will this mean an end to jobs such as quantity surveyors in the years ahead, or will it open up opportunities for a different type of worker to enter the industry?
With the advent of new technologies and software impacting on the actual recruitment process itself in some sectors, members in infrastructure were very optimistic that their services would still be needed in the future. Workers and clients still want the ‘human touch’, and members felt that software would only act to supplement the services of professional recruiters by speeding up the process.
Women are hugely under-represented in the engineering and construction sectors, something that recruiters are keen to address. But the feeling is very much that the culture of the whole industry needs to change if we are to address the imbalance. New technologies may be a route in for many women, and members were keen to explore this. But the importance of female role models – at all levels – was cited as the best way of encouraging more women into the sector.
Promoting the sector
The lack of good careers advice in schools has long been cited as a problem, all the more in construction and engineering. Members felt that the industry needs to be proactive in promoting the sector to the next generation of workers. The importance of local employers going in to schools to promote careers in local businesses is important. However, with skills shortages continuing to be an ongoing problem in the sector, many employers do not want to play the long-game – they want the workers now. Many schools are simply resorting to asking parents to come in to promote their careers. There is clearly a need for a more centrally co-ordinated approach.
Future of jobs commission
The Future of jobs commission will be looking at all aspects of the future world of work. Not only will it be providing an analysis of the landscape, and its potential impact on members, it will also be making concrete recommendations to government. If you would like to feed in to the commission’s work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.