As the world recovers from the global crisis, we take a look at what the rest of 2020 and the coming year holds for civil and construction job consultancies and employers.

In 2020, initial forecasts predicted continued growth in the construction and engineering sector, and the year started off well. However, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted project timelines, resulting in a decline in the engineering and construction job market.


Challenges and opportunities for 2021

Recent industry reports are encouraging regarding the outlook for 2021. Although challenges and opportunities faced by construction and engineering firms during 2020 are not going away any time soon, the future of the engineering and construction industry appears to be dynamic with several national and global growth trends set to continue.

Infrastructure upgrades lead to growth

The Australian government has backed the construction industry in its latest budget to the tune of $14 billion. This investment will greatly assist the execution of planned infrastructure upgrades and smart city initiatives and have a positive impact on engineering and construction jobs. On the other hand, sustained cost pressures and trade uncertainties are unlikely to disappear, and firms will need to remain vigilant and put contingencies in place to deal with these challenges.

The unprecedented impact of technology

COVID-19 has triggered an exponential influx of technology into the workplace. As the economy strives to recover from the pandemic, digitalisation and automation as drivers of growth have become the focus of business owners across all sectors, and the civil and construction sector is no exception. Employers, existing employees and job seekers alike must be prepared for a radically altered work environment in the coming year.

Robots to revolutionise the workforce

The robotic revolution is already in full force within the engineering and construction industry and is set to continue at pace in the new year. Site inspectors rely on drones and autonomous rovers to produce accurate assessments and inspections, and mechanical arms are taking care of repetitive tasks such as brick laying.

This automation has gone some way to address the skills shortage which has been exacerbated due to travel restrictions, and is likely to continue to grow as the government plans to further cut its investment in skilled migration in the coming year.

Connectedness improves efficiency

In the engineering sector, the development of artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the face of design with predictive design, digital building twins, and augmented and virtual reality project planning. All of which greatly reduce costs and time taken to design major developments.

Digital connectedness through the use of cloud technology means that information is freely available wherever it is needed. This enhances collaboration and alliance-building between construction companies and improves efficiency.

The need to upskill

Although the introduction of robots and connected job sites has improved efficiency, productivity, and workplace safety, their impact on the workforce is undeniable. These digital developments necessitate the development of new skills that will redefine the roles of humans in engineering and construction sectors.

Companies will need to anticipate these changes and be proactive. To ensure that they have a suitable human and robotic skills management strategy in place, construction and engineering employers must not only recruit people for new roles that are emerging in the wake of the digital revolution, but also to devote time and effort to training and reskilling current employees to equip them for changes in existing roles.

Construction and civil recruitment agencies have a role to play in encouraging job seekers to upskill in order to meet the demands of a revolutionised workplace.

Need help with construction and engineering recruitment?

Want to ensure your construction or engineering firm is ready to take up these challenges and maximise opportunities presented by the new year? Talk to our team of construction and civil recruitment specialists for advice on civil and construction jobs in Brisbane.

As a leading construction recruitment agency in Brisbane, we specialise in placing the right people in the right jobs to maximise productivity and efficiency in your company.