Focus: Evolving Jobs Market

Thriving in the new world of work

Wallett ... correct implementation of new and advanced technologies is key.

Over the past decade, the construction industry has undergone a rapid transformation from manual methods to technologically advanced operations. A career in architecture and construction offers a diverse range of job opportunities, ranging from designing buildings to managing construction projects, while also offering a platform to foster creativity, problem-solving and innovation. However, we now see the use of advanced technologies as a critical component of global development, which raises the question of what the job market will look like as technology advances.

The integration of cutting-edge technologies is closely linked to the future of construction jobs. Robotics, drones, building information modelling (BIM) and augmented reality have already become increasingly prevalent on construction sites, as seen in testaments of mega projects across the region. Drones are used for surveying landscapes, robots are used for complicated and repetitive tasks, as well as minimising human work and BIM makes collaborative project management easier. Technological advancements in construction, therefore, have a significant impact on the careers of construction personnel.

There is no doubt that workers performing manual labour may be less needed in the future as robotics and other technologies may take over their responsibilities. However, this also presents an opportunity for professionals to advance in other fields and broaden their areas of expertise in the construction landscape. For example, construction workers will need to work alongside robots, overseeing their operations and ensuring seamless integration. Thus, having advanced robotics programming and maintenance skills will become progressively more valuable. Professionals lagging behind in this area may face challenges with new recruits and new talents replacing them.

Similarly, roles of effective problem-solving and communication skills will play a key role in navigating the changing construction landscape. Knowledge of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered project management, risk assessment and predictive modelling tools will become crucial for employment in the construction industry. Increased attention will be given to the safety and well-being of workers who are tasked with overseeing on-site operations or are obligated to stay there during specific project duration. Wearable technology, such as exoskeletons and smart helmets, has already begun addressing these issues and has significantly reduced accidents in the last two years.

Today, eco-friendly technologies and materials are being used more often in construction jobs as sustainable building practices gain importance. Workers will require knowledge on renewable energy systems, green certifications and sustainable construction techniques to excel in this sector. The demand for professionals with expertise in energy-efficient designs and environmentally-conscious construction practices is, therefore, expected to increase.

More importantly, construction is becoming a more digitalised industry, making it a potential target for cyber threats. To safeguard confidential project data, intellectual property and integrity of digital systems, construction professionals must comprehend and implement effective cybersecurity measures. The ability to understand best practices in cybersecurity can prove to be a highly valuable skill in the future of the sector.

Today, construction firms, technology providers, and industry experts are placing a greater emphasis on educating both current employees and the upcoming generation about the correct implementation of new and advanced technologies, as opposed to merely introducing them. Education has gained significance as it plays a crucial role in equipping individuals in the field with the understanding of diverse technologies, their utilisation, and determining the most effective approaches for each design.

While technology plays a crucial role in the future of construction, there will also be a renewed focus on craftsmanship. Skilled artisans and tradespeople will remain in high demand due to their knowledge of traditional construction techniques, artistic detailing and high-quality craftsmanship. Development of superior, aesthetically pleasing structures will require a careful balance of technological innovation and traditional craftsmanship.

According to construction industry reports and expert insights, in 2024, the technology and IT services sector is anticipated to lead in hiring, with an emphasis on roles in cybersecurity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and software development. This will further push professionals to stay updated on the latest technologies, materials and regulations. Upskilling and embracing lifelong learning will thus be crucial to remain competitive and stay ahead in an industry that is constantly evolving.