The demand for skilled professionals in construction amidst the new normal

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of changes in our lives and these changes are going to be with us for a long time; therefore, the new normal. Professionals who plan well and make use of this downtime time to upskill themselves will certainly stand a much better chance to obtain good jobs roles once the market opens again. 

[authorimages]The real estate and construction industries are witnessing a major reshuffle in the way they employ workers and the skills required for employment in these fields. Technology has become the key to make the world go around as everything revolves around it. Being online has taken a whole new meaning as most offices are working from home and education at all levels is being imparted in real-time, virtually. It is important to accept and adapt to these changes and realign yourself with the new parameters of normal and at the same time, try to visualise what the new emerging world would be like proactively.

Employability in a post-pandemic real estate sector

Where the built environment sector is concerned, this sector was already battling a few challenges such as liquidity, buyer-seller mistrust, unethical practices and a shortage of skilled human resources when it got further hit by the impact of the successive lockdowns. The industry, with the cooperation of the government, is already working towards rectifying some of these issues. Although it is hazardous to make predictions in such a volatile environment, the coming six to 12 months are expected to be a turbulent period as construction projects are already delayed, and we do not know when the stalled constructions are expected to resume. The migrant workforce plays a significant role in construction projects, and presently all states have different rules concerning their safety and reemployment. The way forward would be increased use of technology, and people who upskill themselves will stand a better chance where employability is concerned.

Specialised professionals who have a relevant skill in very sector-specific and role-specific skills will find it easier to find employment in the post-pandemic world. This hiatus in the economy would be a good time for the youth to upskill themselves. In about 12 to 15 months, the economy is expected to start turning around, and demand for skilled professionals will be on the rise.  

Most organisations are using this time to introspect and redefine their requirements. Still, basis the current situation, there is expected to be an increased demand for the following job roles in the construction and real estate sector:

Claims and dispute resolution

In the post-COVID-19 scenario, when work resumes after a long break, disputes are bound to arise in contracts, and many contracts would have to be rewritten. This will give rise to more job roles in this field. Those who are capable of reviewing construction contracts and establishing effective contract management procedures to reduce the likelihood of disputes arising will be in demand. 

Roles in financial feasibility 

Organisations will revisit the ongoing projects and review the upcoming projects to assess how profitability, loans, revolving credit and cash flow reserves can support ongoing operations in a low-revenue environment. This will create a demand for professionals in this field. Those who are proficient in assisting in establishing client requirements and undertaking feasibility studies will be required in the industry. 

Health and safety at worksites

In the immediate future, health and safety are going to be of prime importance, and due to COVID-19, organisations are establishing risk-mitigation programs for employees who still need to work on-site. Those who have a complete understanding of the implications of health and safety regulations will be in more demand 

Supply chain management in the construction industry 

The successive lockdowns have completely disrupted the supply chain in the real estate sector. In the present conditions, organisations will rethink their supply chain management, especially those affecting critical materials and components. They will need to identify potential weak links in the supply chain — especially in geographies currently affected by COVID-19 and those that could be impacted in the future.

Construction technologies

All this will lead to a global increase in demand for Business Information Modelling (BIM) solutions, and those who are trained in BIM, AutoCAD, Revit and other software related to it will be in more demand. 

Once the pandemic withdraws its impact and the industry picks up pace once again, organisations are likely to upgrade their technical infrastructure to reduce dependence on migrant labour. Several products and services in the sector can be on a cloud-based deployment, digitisation combined with a robust network infrastructure can help to mitigate losses substantially. 

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Mike Edwards Jersey