How to bridge the skills gap now for a better future in construction

Skills gap mentorship Ellis Fox Blog

The skills crisis in construction has been talked about for years, yet investment in training and development doesn’t seem to have had much impact. Perhaps because so many construction firms were struggling to keep their heads above water and the pipeline of projects wasn’t looking too optimistic.

Nobody could have predicted that a global crisis would be the catalyst to get construction going again and it’s creating a whole new skills crisis as senior skilled construction professionals are being wooed away with great projects and offers that their existing employers can’t match. If companies can’t hold onto their senior staff they need to have a plan B. What are the options available?

Hiring Interims

A great contributing factor to the skills crisis is that a number of construction executives are at retirement age. Many are only too happy to get back into the industry on a consulting or interim basis and these are skills worth tapping into. Hiring an interim can bridge the gap if a senior director leaves unexpectedly as senior roles typically take longer to fill. There is also the benefit that they may bring with them specialist skills. If there is risk that a senior person leaving could cause disruption then an interim experienced in change management, could help smooth the waters and ensure employees remain engaged and productive.

Mentoring and Training

Interims can serve a dual purpose in that with their wealth of industry experience, they’re the ideal candidates to head up mentorship programs. This is a great way to nurture talent within an organization and fast track promotions. Plus knowing a company has a mentorship program is attractive for new hires because it indicates an opportunity for progression within an organization. Being proactive about offering in house training and empowering employees to participate in industry training is another big draw card for employees on all levels

Leveraging Technology

Technology can help take the pressure off employees by helping to organize workflows and manage processes. On-site there may be human tasks that can be completely replaced with robotics. While there’s often a stigma of human jobs being taken over by machines, the reality is that if there aren’t any people to do the jobs and robots can do the tasks more efficiently, it should be considered as an option. Long term it has the benefit of attracting top talent because it shows a progressive approach towards digital transformation.