Rising AEC Industry Growth Could Mean a Shortage of Workers



McGraw-Hill Construction, or MHC, have some startling predictions for the global construction industry. A survey conducted recently amongst firms in the AEC industry expects non-residential building projects to grow by an amazing 73% over 2011 levels, by 2015. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that many survey respondents also suggest that soon there won’t be enough CAD architecture and BIM skilled workers to meet this demand. MHC suggests that:

  • Recession – the global economic slump has forced many design workers to move to other fields to find work, shrinking the resource pool.
  • Retirement – a good portion of the skilled workforce are now approaching retirement age, and there are not enough skilled designers waiting to take their place. The AEC is worried there may be a profound loss of experience.
  • Students – a large number of design and architecture firms are worried that there aren’t enough new designers in the student pipeline to cover the shortage.
  • Global – a big majority of students that are graduating are expressing an interest in working abroad, meaning the entire world’s AEC will be competing for the same few workers.
  • Industry appeal – a small majority of survey participants feel that the construction and design industry is just not glamorous enough to attract the right amount, or the right kind, of talent.
  • Education – just over half believe that current education standards are not sufficient to make up for the lost skills and experience.

It seems then, according to MHC, to address these issues, major steps need to be taken with regards to BIM training. Senior executives need to take a more hands-on approach with their training initiatives, and be more supportive of existing training programs so they can be used to attract and retain new designers.

Company-wide BIM and CAD training initiatives need to be applied to ensure that firms in the AEC industry have designers with the skills to meet the forecasted demand. HR and Training departments should be instituting training programs that can deliver high level industry knowledge to their workforce. Company experts should be re-tasked as specialists able to coach the newer designers, and mentor them to BIM Levels 2 & 3 where possible.

The training programs must also be obviously attractive to newly graduated workers, and tailored to fill in any gaps they may have in their education.

If MHC’s suppositions prove to be correct, it’s clear that companies with the forethought to focus on bringing their designers up to speed with BIM and CAD as soon as they can, while innovating enticing training programs for new graduates, will be best equipped to handle the improving industry conditions. Any that don’t will doubtless find themselves wondering what they did wrong.

  • Share