Earlier this week, UK publication Business Leader ran a news story highlighting ‘The importance of attracting Gen-Z to plug the construction sector skills shortage’. This is a particularly relevant topic right now, both in Ireland and the UK – you can read the article in full here: https://www.businessleader.co.uk/the-importance-of-attracting-gen-z-to-plug-the-construction-sector-skills-shortage/

The main thrust of the article is that the construction industry will need to up its game and align to the values that the next generation demand of their future employers. This includes promoting an inclusive culture and encouraging the diversity that has been sorely lacking. Director at civil and structural engineering consultancy Dice, Raj Somal, articulates this well in the above article by bluntly stating that we need to create a sector in which young people are excited to work.

And this makes sense. The only way to bridge the skills gap at this stage is to attract newcomers into the industry. But how can the construction industry make itself appealing to future engineers?

A recent report referenced in the Business leaders article above found that 62 percent of so-called ‘Gen Z’ are aware of, and engaged with, the climate emergency. However, only one in three see the construction industry as a sector they can work in to address it. This is surprising given that the built environment is responsible for an estimated 40 percent of global carbon emissions. Frankly, being such a big part of the problem, this industry needs to be a big part of the solution. Focusing on sustainability to create green-skilled industry jobs must be a priority. At Horizon Offsite, we are specialists in light gauge steel framing, which is one of the more efficient construction methods. Also, from a sustainability perspective, steel is both recycled and recyclable.

As technology advocates, we know first-hand that technology holds the key to achieving greater efficiencies, however, it is also the key to transitioning the industry from traditional to a more creative profession. In practice, offsite and other modern methods of construction are appealing to the next generation of engineers who are digital-natives. For these early-stage professionals, using tools like REVIT to generate 3D models of buildings, or BIM manage and deliver projects just makes sense.

But, according to Dice’s Raj Somal: 

“We need to go further than this to attract talent. It’s not enough to have sustainable ways of working – our projects must also line up with this vision. The built environment is one of the most problematic for carbon emissions, so as an industry we need to examine our building methods, use of technology, and the ongoing operation of buildings if we have any hope of reaching net-zero targets by 2050…

Generation Z are always looking for ways to disrupt and leave a meaningful impact. If we can engage young people in the construction industry, they will bring an important entrepreneurial spirit into the sector, while also holding sustainability at the forefront of their minds as the issue of climate change becomes more and more pressing.”

Interestingly, this article appeared the same week as the Mace announcement that the organisation has altered its degree requirements in order to attract more graduates from different backgrounds. 

About Horizon Offsite

Horizon Offsite Ltd is one of Europe’s leading players in Offsite Construction and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), providing a fully accredited structural light gauge steel system to the residential, industrial, commercial, healthcare and educational sectors. Contact the Horizon Offsite team at https://www.horizonoffsite.ie