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Why construction needs younger people in the workforce

Millennials can learn from the Middle East’s construction gurus – but are they being provided patient guidance?

The Middle East's construction sector needs more young construction professionals in the workforce [representational image of Dubai].
The Middle East's construction sector needs more young construction professionals in the workforce [representational image of Dubai].

Marcus Taylor, managing partner at Taylor Sterling Associates, says blending youth and experience is increasingly important if firms are to ensure millennials learn from the Middle East’s construction gurus.

Today, many construction companies in the Middle East are beginning to suffer as a result of an aging workforce. With age comes experience, but it can also bring a number of significant challenges for business leaders.

There is little question that many experienced workers in the sector will be leaving their jobs within the next decade, but in the meantime, it is important to achieve a healthy balance within the workforce of experienced workers and young but skilled employees who will go on to become the next generation of leaders. 

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A younger workforce makes way for a range of new methodologies and technologies. While these tools are definitely important, companies are also being exposed to a new set of employee values and expectations. 

In the construction industry, it can prove beneficial for companies to find a balance through which they can combine the young-bloods with experienced professionals who understand the industry, the mistakes, and the cultural influences that can affect the success of a project – there are some things that you can only know if you have had to do them 100 times. 

Many companies are now shifting their approach, filtering their talent pool, and restructuring their workforce to comprise highly skilled but less experienced employees. While this will work for some, it can be incredibly risky for others. 

Having a company full of younger employees with limited experience will, in many cases, result in a lack of the grit and the ‘get it done’ attitude, which is often needed in this industry. 

READ: Spotlight on Mideast Gen Z as global youth reject construction careers

Younger generations may be able to adapt and embrace technology much more quickly than older generations, and this can be a major benefit for construction companies. Quickly getting to grips with new innovations will give businesses a competitive edge in a market that will continue to see an increase in its appetite for technology in the future.

Younger employees also tend to approach problems with no attachment to the tried-and-tested methods, allowing them to bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to the table. This inquisitive nature and outside-the-box thinking can disrupt the status quo in a way that can be invaluable when applied and guided correctly by more senior figures in the business.

There are a number of benefits to hiring both younger and older employees, but before letting go of the old and bringing in the new, companies should experiment with achieving a diversified workforce or a mentor system, to make the most of the skills younger workers bring to the table. However, employers should not limit themselves to hiring youth just for the sake of it – simply aim to always get the best person for the job.  

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Latest Issue

Construction Week - Issue 745
Jun 30, 2019