What are the most in-demand skills in a construction downturn?

In demand skills Ellis Fox Blog

The forecast for construction going into 2023 indicates a downturn in output and new project starts. This slowdown is to be expected given the inflationary pressure the industry has been feeling in the past few months. The demand for skills remains high, especially as main contractors will be relying on those in senior roles to make the right decisions in challenging circumstances.  What are the most sought after skills that can make the most impact?

Industry awareness and future outlook

An ability to look ahead and draw insights from what is happening in the broader economy enables companies to be more proactive rather than resorting to knee jerk reactions. Strategic thinking can help companies prepare for possible challenges by taking steps to mitigate impacts while they have more resources and with less time pressure. An example is materials shortages and price increases that were predicted before Brexit took place. Some main contractors took the decision to stockpile materials to ensure projects were not disrupted.  The ability to think through possible future scenarios and incorporate that into project plans is a skill highly sought out in senior roles.

Problem solving and project management

As much as strategy and forecasting skills are needed, so too is the ability to problem solve when things don’t go according to plan. No project can afford to sit idle while ideas for possible fixes are debated.  Too often small mistakes are overlooked, but they tend to accumulate and can derail a project if not addressed timeously. Leaders that can quickly find solutions and effectively manage how changes are implemented, help keep projects on track. Knowing how to leverage project management tools to keep up with changes is equally important.

Relationship building and communication

When teams are working under pressure the ability to communicate clearly can have a huge impact on the success of a project. This can be hard when targets change and frustrations creep in. The difference is where strong working relationships have been built, colleagues understand how each other function best. There’s also a level of respect which enables better communication. These soft skills are as important as technical knowledge and define what good leadership is all about.

Working to develop these skills will not only help you in your current role, they’ll also give you an advantage as you progress in your career.