Building and construction recruitment is a serious challenge for many Australian firms.

Construction vacancies have risen by 80% since late 2019, according to the 2022 Arcadis Construction Costs report, with an additional 100,000 vacancies forecasted for this year.

Further, infrastructure spending is set to drive Australia’s economic recovery, with a record $225 billion committed in major infrastructure investments by the end of 2024.

These issues represent a historic workforce shortage for the construction industry in Australia. Coupled with the challenges of an aging workforce, it’s essential to explore new methods to attract and retain the younger talent your firm needs to succeed.

One strategy to combat workforce recruitment issues is to adopt ‘connected construction technologies,’ which are the use of digital tools that connect different areas within your business.

Connected construction offers a range of recruitment and retention-related benefits, chiefly:

  • the ability to attract the Millennial, Gen Y and Gen Z workforce who expect to use modern technologies;
  • increase collaboration between teams;
  • offer training and development opportunities for employees seeking career advancement within their company; and
  • potentially redefine company culture.

And, connected construction solutions have proven to increase efficiency, communication and overall profits for construction businesses who’ve implemented them.


Younger Australians may have outdated perceptions about the construction industry

Millennials are projected to make up 75% of Australia’s workforce by 2025, according to a study by Haworth. That same study reports that 79% of Australian CEOs are concerned that millennials’ needs will require changes in the way companies conduct business.

And it’s not just millennials. Gen Y and Gen Z workers are entering the workforce in droves, and they have their own specific needs from employers. More than 50% of Gen Z employees and nearly 30% of Gen Y employees in Australia seek frequent communication and performance feedback from their employers, according to HRM Asia.

The construction sector represents Australia’s third-largest employer, yet the industry faces an image problem. Many millennials, Gen Y and Gen Z workers presume the industry is outdated and are reluctant to pursue construction careers on the assumption that most firms aren’t innovative or forward-thinking. With technology integrated into almost every aspect of their lives, they seek companies that embrace innovation and digital workflows – areas where the construction industry has historically lagged behind.

Younger workers also know that technology exists to automate manual or tedious work. Construction firms that consistently seek out technology geared toward collaboration and productivity can demonstrate a commitment to increased efficiency and show they are invested in the future, both of which are attractive to the younger workforce.



A commitment to collaboration and efficiency attracts younger talent

Adopting a connected construction approach to your project workflows can challenge perceptions of the industry and attract the technology-driven younger generation of workers. Contractors can embrace technology without having to dive in head first and be on the cutting edge of every new technological development.

For many construction firms, adopting connected construction could be as simple as implementing cloud-based construction management software to replace manual reporting. With the right software, manual data entry can be eliminated, freeing up younger workers to focus on other tasks and helping them feel they are applying their time wisely.

For larger construction firms, technology such as building information modelling (BIM) or three-dimensional modelling can increase the efficiency of construction projects and reduce reliance on manual labour. This type of technology adoption can raise your firm’s appeal, as younger workers seek variety in their roles and the opportunity to work with emerging, cutting-edge technology.

Connected construction can also create learning and development opportunities for younger workers by providing access to real-time data and information. For example, the use of BIM allows project stakeholders to access and edit a single digital model of a project, which can improve coordination, reduce errors and increase transparency.

Training opportunities also help younger workers learn about the different aspects of a project, such as design, engineering or construction. These learning opportunities appeal to younger workers seeking more opportunities to develop and grow in their careers.


A commitment to collaboration and efficiency attracts younger talent

Adopting connected construction can also help to redefine company culture. By implementing digital tools and technology, it’s possible to increase transparency, foster a culture of innovation and collaboration, and promote sustainable work practices – all of which are key concerns for the younger workforce and should be a focus for employers.

Building and construction recruitment is a serious challenge, but embracing connected construction technologies can help firms create a working environment that is more attractive to Australia’s younger workforce, while also bringing along benefits like increased efficiency, better communication and higher profits.


Andrew Tucker is the Product Manager APAC at Trimble Viewpoint, a connected construction management software leader whose SaaS solutions help contractors around the world operate more efficiently, safely, sustainably and predictably.



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