So what can we do about these issues that are still prevalent and how can Gen Z help?
A 2018 study from McKinsey & Company shows that Gen Z highly values a clear and positive purpose in their career and company.
It is vitally important to Gen Z that the company they work for is also focused on creating a positive net difference. Therefore, to attract and keep Gen Z in the industry a focus must be made on making a positive change to the climate crisis and going about our work ethically.
Research has suggested a connection between Gen Z’s desire to have an interesting career in a digital industry tied to a company that has good values, and there is a misconception that the construction industry cannot offer this.
However, it appears with recent digital developments and the transformation of the industry with digital adoption over time, this could not be further from the truth.
During my apprenticeship, I gained exposure to the exciting digital world hidden inside the industry such as:
The construction industry, to meet a lack of housing provision are focussing on DfMA and MMC to solve these problems.
The world of volumetric construction has moved on considerably from the days of leaky prefabricated buildings.
For example, Ilke Homes’ offsite construction solution harnesses artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital design, to create precision-engineered, incredibly well-insulated homes, which are kitted out with the latest low-carbon technologies, including air source heat pumps, solar panels and battery storage technology.
Software and technology advances including devices like the Atom by XYZ, an Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality tool that allows construction teams to view 3D models to millimetre accuracy onsite are being tested and hopefully offer opportunities to the construction industry.
For myself, utilising visual programming tools during my apprenticeship allowed me to support my colleagues by automating manual tasks in the workplace.
One example is a parametric crane capacity tool to automate the production of Crane Capacity Maps for the fifty plus cranes on site.
Whilst it may look like abstract art, it allowed the lifting team to plan their crane lifts quickly and accurately.
In conclusion, bringing Gen Z into the sector might not be quick and it is not guaranteed they will want to join either.
However, if Gen Z does join there are a wealth of benefits to be had. Not only in carrying on the great work that is already being done by so many people to date, but also in assisting the collective business’ that operate across the AEC space into the 21st century.
matterlab is a digital transformation consultancy and innovation lab for the built environment. Our mission is to help make the process of designing, building and operating the built environment smarter, cleaner, safer and more profitable. Our primary function is to help bridge the gap between the old and the new. By providing a platform where efficiency and automation are encouraged but ensuring that all methods are scrutinised, and sense checked by someone with experience, we enable the integration of digital workflows, whilst providing support along the way. Start-up, Contech companies like matterlab are a necessity if we are to help the industry adapt and change to the needs of tomorrow.
Take the Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) tool, Kit of Parts Engine (KOPE) for example. KOPE is the first, purpose-built software platform for Offsite Construction. Powered by AI, KOPE bridges the gap between design, manufacturing, and construction. KOPE is focused on making the industry more efficient, saving time, resources, and costs. It enables the offsite workstream to erect buildings with better quality, for fewer costs and with less waste.
Innovative ideas like this are a key driver in bringing fresh faces to the industry and we aim to be part of that process by inspiring younger generations to join firms across the AEC space. Whether they want to work in the design, engineering, construction or operations fields or they want to bring their skills and insight directly to the technology side and work for companies like ours, the choices are there.
To attract Gen Z into the construction industry I think we have to inspire them by continuing to deliver excellence in digital transformation and software creation and by telling people about our achievements.
https://www.xyzreality.com/product (accessed 25.07.22)
https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/true-gen-generation-z-and-its-implications-for-companies (accessed 25.07.22)
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