Construction must tap into next generation’s values and sense of purpose

The construction sector has a huge opportunity to attract the emerging generation of talent, according to new research released by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) today (11.11.20). 

The Future of the Workplace report, produced by ACE’s group for emerging professionals as part of their contribution to the Future of Consultancy campaign, urges the construction industry to make the most of its pivotal role in building society’s future, arguing that it has a unique appeal which can meet the emerging generation’s strong sense of purpose and values.

Through a series of in-depth interviews with emerging professionals, business leaders and clients, the report has gathered insights on changing attitudes and aspirations, as well as workplace cultures and internal business structures in the built and natural environment. The timing of the project has also provided a snapshot of how the sector has been adapting to the impact of Covid-19.

To help achieve the necessary shift in workplace culture that will ensure the industry can successfully attract and retain emerging professionals, the report proposes a ‘Workplace Promise’ to clearly establish a baseline for a new relationship which will outline what can be expected from employers. In return, it will also outline what is expected of employees if they are to progress to leadership roles within their company.

Building on the foundations of this ‘promise’, the report has also outlined eight principles to help create a healthy and thriving workplace and suggested the introduction of ‘role families’ to develop new promotional pathways. The research recommends a vital role for ACE in supporting all members to adapt, but especially for SMEs and around key issues such as diversity and inclusion.

Commenting on the report, ACE’s chief executive Hannah Vickers, said: “As the designers of society’s future, our industry is better-placed than many others to appeal to the best of the emerging generation. We can often meet their sense of purpose and values through the projects we work on, but where many have struggled in the past is in creating environments which attract, support and retain them.

“This report will help businesses tackle these issues head-on and offers practical suggestions to nurture a workplace culture that enables whole organisations to thrive. We cannot meet the challenges outlined by ACE’s Future of Consultancy campaign for a better-connected, technology-first approach to the design, development and operation of the built environment, without the next generation being fully on board.”

Commenting on the research, ACE Emerging Professionals chair Georgia Hughes, said: “We’re delighted to input into the vital debate around the future of our industry. The report’s findings demonstrate what many already know anecdotally - if given the right projects to work on and in the right environment, emerging professionals are extremely driven, productive, caring and passionate, and are a great asset for any forward-thinking company. 

“Our recommendations, including around a new Workplace Promise between employers and the next generation, will help businesses create a framework to fully realise their potential.”

Click here to download The Future of the Workplace report.

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