Digital technology uptake boosts attractiveness of construction career for young adults – New Civil Engineer

22 Aug, 2022 By Claire Smith
A cultural shift in attitudes among younger generations driven by growth in use of technology has boosted popularity of a career in construction, according to new research.
A survey of 2,000 18 to 29 year olds by construction technology platform NBS, carried out by One Poll, found that 56% of those surveyed now consider a career in construction to be an attractive prospect.
Analysis of the data also showed that a jobs as a civil or structural engineer are the UK’s second most wanted jobs within the age group surveyed and is now second only to roles as healthcare professionals. However, NBS warned that training these potential new recruits could be challenging with teaching shortages threatening to affect the viability of essential construction related courses.
The research showed that the growing use of digital technology by the construction sector was a driver of the increased interest in the sector but 31% of those surveyed also said that they wanted to build “a better physical world” through working in the industry.
NBS CEO Russell Haworth said: “It’s clear that perceptions around construction are changing. Young people now realise it’s not the dull, dangerous and dirty job as mislabelled for years by educators and career advisors. It’s great to see such an uptick in interest following some very lean years recruitment-wise. The challenge for the sector now is to jump on this opportunity, we must not miss it as has previously been the case.”
Data from the survey also showed that more women are now considering a career in construction than in the past with over a fifth of women now “very interested” in the sector. The young women surveyed also suggested that the sector is now seen as more inclusive with 57% of those surveyed describing the sector as diverse.
More broadly, over a third of all those surveyed flagged they were interested in construction because they see it as an industry “going through a massive, positive change”.
Salary and earning potential as an engineer were also key motivators with “good pay” ranked top in the incentive list. The was followed by good home and work balance, a respectful working environment, interesting work and working with nice people.
However, despite an uplift in interest from a younger generation looking to make their way in the industry, another recent study by the Association of Colleges found skills shortages amongst staff looking to teach construction are stalling progress.
The Association of Colleges reported that 85% of further education colleges have struggled to secure staff to teach the relevant subjects. NBS has said that this problem needs to be addressed if its research is be borne out in reality and there is an influx of interest in construction roles occurs over the next six months.
Haworth concluded: “This study has proven to be a litmus test of where the industry is heading within the next 20 years – seeing more women and greater diversity entering the workforce will only continue its upward trajectory. With so much interest from young people our next challenge is turning interest into long and fruitful careers.”
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