Hays found that 55% of construction managers say the shortage of skilled professionals is the biggest issue facing the industry today – over half would consider recruiting from overseas to fill the gap in domestic supply
The key to career success as a construction manager
A diverse technical foundation and strong communication, problem-solving and decision-making soft skills are required for any aspiring construction manager, according to a new report from recruiting experts Hays Construction.
Based on a survey of over 950 construction professionals in Australia and New Zealand and the in-depth insights of 21 industry experts, and published in a report ‘The Road to Construction Manager’, almost half (49%) of construction professionals surveyed have more than 21 years’ experience in the industry. Over this time, 59% have built their technical knowledge through education and upskilling on the job while also filling a diverse range of roles onsite on their way to the top construction job.
This on-the-job learning has been supported by employers, of whom almost all (97%) provide opportunities for all or some staff to upskill in the latest industry trends or new technology and tools. The most common upskilling strategies are mentorships or coaching (67%), time off to attend conferences or seminars (63%), on-the-job stretch opportunities or project involvement (49%) and paid memberships to online resources (32%).
As for levels of formal education in the industry, the research shows variety, with 21% of construction professionals holding a Certificate III or IV in Building and Construction, 14% a Certificate III/IV in Work Health & Safety, 11% a Diploma of Building & Construction (Building) and 8% a Bachelor of Construction Management.
To succeed in construction, professionals must add to this technical foundation a range of soft skills. According to respondents, the most important soft skills required are communication (71%), problem-solving (45%) and decision-making (28%).
Differing over skill expectations
Hays also found that 55% of construction managers say the shortage of skilled professionals is the biggest issue facing the industry today, while 56% would consider recruiting from overseas to fill the gap in domestic supply.
However, employees and employers are out of step in their skill expectations, since an overwhelming 88% of construction professionals believe they have the necessary technical skills to advance their career.
The report also shows that construction remains a male-dominated industry, with men accounting for 90% of surveyed respondents. Being able to make tangible and real-world contributions to the built environment, and seeing the physical results of their work, was the key attraction of a career in construction for 37% of survey respondents.
A lack of career progression opportunities (77%), ongoing learning and development (59%) and flexible work practices (51%) would stop them from considering a job at a particular organisation.
Over half (55%) of construction managers surveyed say that the shortage of skilled professionals is the biggest issue facing the construction industry today. This was followed by government funding and support (20%) and the speed of new systems and technology changes (14%).
Two-thirds (66%) of survey respondents recommend that aspiring construction managers gain labouring skills.
Just 43% of survey respondents are aware of the latest technology and digital trends relevant to their job and/or industry. A further 51% are aware ‘to some extent’.
On a scale of 1 to 100, survey respondents on average rate the state of available systems and technologies (software and hardware) in their industry at 53 – midway between traditional and innovative.
As for who is responsible for upskilling construction workers on the latest technology, an overwhelming majority (92%) believe both employers and employees must be accountable.
Training and development opportunities were nominated as a professional challenge by 39% of construction professionals.
Given the vital importance of workplace health and safety, it is perhaps surprising that only 69% of construction professionals surveyed are aware of the latest regulations in this area relevant to their role.
To download the full report, click here