Conversations in Construction: Tackling technology and attracting top talent

As part of the Conversations in Construction video series, Construction and Real Estate VP Dustin Stephens and industry experts examine some of the unique challenges and ground-breaking innovations in the world of construction.

7 steps to design behaviour change by Mike Coulter

Episode 2: Tackling technology and attracting top talent

Welcome to the second installment of our Conversations in Construction series.

This series strives to deliver actionable insights to help construction businesses weather challenges and continue to thrive.

In episode one of the series, we focused on navigating the skilled labor crisis in construction and touched on how businesses can recruit and retain top talent.

Be sure to go back and listen if you missed it.

In episode two, we highlight how the industry needs to look beyond the typical pool of applicants and appeal to a wider range of workers.

Two groups that are underrepresented in the construction industry are women and younger workers. Women make up only around 11% of the construction workforce. While older workers are retiring at a faster rate than next-generation workers are entering the industry.

There’s a pressing need for innovative solutions to bridge this gap – this is where technology steps in.

Here’s what we’ll cover

Tech-forward culture

Attracting new talent

Learning from industry peers

Final thoughts

Tech-forward culture

Best-in-class company cultures are tech-forward. Businesses that adopt a tech-forward mindset understand that while change can be hard, it is necessary to grow.

They’re not scared to try new things. They’re also constantly examining their processes and technologies to ensure they’re optimizing their business operations.

Tech-forward companies embed technology in their daily workflows, boosting communication, efficiency, and project outcomes.

Companies that are utilizing the latest technological advancements are also more appealing to new talent and retain their existing talent.

Technology in recruitment

Technology provides avenues to reach a broader pool of candidates.

Digital platforms, such as social media and online job boards, enable businesses to showcase their culture and values to potential hires.

Using innovative technologies, like virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR), can offer immersive experiences. These technologies give candidates a glimpse into the company’s work environment.

This not only attracts diverse talent but also ensures a cultural fit from the outset.

Technology as a retention tool

Employee retention is equally crucial.

Technology can improve efficiency, enhance engagement, and increase job satisfaction levels.

Platforms for remote work, flexible scheduling software, and communication tools can also help facilitate work-life balance.

Additionally, technology can offer tools such as personalized learning platforms. These platforms foster professional growth and help ensure employees feel valued and invested in their careers.

Technology investment is critical for businesses to remain competitive and appeal to top talent in today’s business landscape.

Top-performing construction businesses are investing heavily in technology, fueling record spending in the industry in recent years.

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Attracting new talent

The following strategies can also help businesses attract new talent to the industry:

Promote diversity and inclusion

Creating a welcoming and inclusive work environment where all employees feel respected and valued is essential for attracting diverse talent.

Businesses can demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion within the organization by implementing policies that support equal opportunities for everyone.

This is especially important for recruitment, hiring, promotion, and leadership development.

Attracting workers from different backgrounds will help the industry create a more diverse and inclusive workforce. One that reflects the broader community and contributes to the industry’s long-term success.

Read more: Women in Construction Week – C1S Group CEO Julie Strong on how women can thrive in the industry

Offer modern benefits

While competitive pay is appealing, a robust benefits package can provide extra incentive for potential employees.

It is important for businesses to recognize the unique needs and priorities of underrepresented groups in construction. For example, childcare can be a barrier for many.

Providing flexible work arrangements, generous parental leave policies, and other family-friendly benefits can help attract more diverse talent.

Benefits that support work-life balance also help retain current employees.

Build excitement among youth

Younger generations entering the workforce have grown up with technology. They often seek opportunities that will allow them to sharpen their tech skills.

However, construction does not have a reputation for being on the cutting edge of tech adoption.

It’s important for businesses to flip this narrative and showcase innovative technologies that are driving advancement in the industry. These include:

  • 3D printing
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • robotics
  • artificial intelligence

Promoting the high-tech, forward-thinking nature of the construction industry can help build excitement among early talent. This will help attract tech-savvy individuals who are eager to contribute to the industry’s evolution.

Another way to promote career opportunities in construction is to forge partnerships with:

  • community organizations
  • job fairs
  • high schools
  • trade schools
  • colleges

This can help raise awareness of the diverse career paths available in the industry and facilitate pathways to employment.

Bridge the skills gap

Businesses not only need to demonstrate their position as an industry leader, but they also must demonstrate their commitment to building future leaders.

Offering training and skills development, mentorship programs, apprenticeships, and leadership development initiatives can help bridge the skills gap in construction.

Providing equal access to these opportunities empowers underrepresented groups to advance in their careers, developing future generations of leaders.

Read more: How technology can help you recruit and retain top talent

Learning from industry peers

Technology will continue to play a vital role in helping businesses be more efficient, improve employee satisfaction, and attract new talent to the industry.

Top construction businesses have found ways to leverage technology, transform their company culture, and boast top recruitment and retention rates.  

Watch Conversations in Construction: Tackling Tech and Attracting Top Talent to hear more from my conversation with three construction leaders.

They share their experiences in adopting a tech-forward culture and attracting top industry talent.

Matt Abeles, Vice President of Construction Technology and Innovation for the Associated Builders and Contractors, a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 23,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 68 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work.

Julie Strong, Owner and CEO of C1S Group, an award-winning full-service engineering and construction firm specializing in the design and installation of projects for existing facilities.

Thomas Cochran, CFO at New West Building Company, a residential and commercial builder that values proactive collaboration and transparency and utilizes the latest technologies to deliver streamlined, high-quality projects.

Final thoughts

By effectively using technology, businesses will stay ahead of the curve and create a workplace where individuals feel valued and empowered – the type of culture that fosters innovation and growth.

Watch episode two of Conversations in Construction: Tackling Tech and Attracting Top Talent to learn more about how businesses are adopting a tech-forward mindset to optimize business operations and bring in new workers.