Reskilling and Upskilling Construction

If you aren’t reinventing your job, if you aren’t upskilling and reskilling your employees, if you aren’t rethinking your construction business, you are going to be left behind. Here is the hard reality: In Europe and the United States demand for physical and manual skills in repeatable and predictable tasks is expected to decline by nearly 30% in the next decade.
The good news is the numbers from McKinsey also show that in contrast, the demand for technological skills (both coding and especially interacting with technology) is expected to rise by more than 50%, and the need for complex cognitive skills is set to increase by one-third. At the same time, demand for high-level social and emotional skills, such as initiative taking, leadership, and entrepreneurship, is also expected to rise by more than 30%.
Naturally, it makes sense to reskill or upskill your workforce and move existing employees into new roles. In fact, Gartner says 58% of the workforce will need new skillsets to do their jobs successfully. In fact, it goes as far as to say the total number of skills required for a single job has been increasing by 10% year-over-year since 2017. Long gone are the days where an individual is only a bricklayer. Today that craftsperson needs to also be a salesperson, a basic mathematician, and perhaps an IT troubleshooter, just to name a few.
I was at a presentation a few years back where the presenter asked the audience what types of skills and responsibilities a project manager had beyond just project management. The list was staggering. I mean there were dozens of skills listed on that board—everything from IT support to counselor.
Perhaps this goes without saying, but emerging skills gaps due to ongoing business disruption and rapidly evolving needs have also accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic—as has much else. The trend toward talent needing a diverse set of skills to do a job is only going to continue to pick up at a rapid pace. So what are we to do about this?
Gartner suggests gaining better insight into employee skillsets, understanding and prioritizing skills adjacencies, and encouraging flexible career progression. Reskilling needs to be both about what a company needs and what an employee is capable of.
Meanwhile, McKinsey recommends a systematic approach to the challenge of shifting skill requirements in three broad steps: scout (analyze skill demand vs supply to deliver on strategic ambitions), shape (design program architecture to close demand-supply gap), and shift (stand up infrastructure and capabilities to reskill at scale).
Gartner and McKinsey make the process sound easy, don’t they? However, psychologist K. Anders Ericsson says it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to achieve expertise. Maybe you don’t need an expert just yet. Others more realistically estimate that 480 hours is a good benchmark for building new skills, according to Harvard Business Review.
The bottomline is this takes time. So perhaps now is a good time to evaluate what it is you need, identify who might be able to fill in that gap, and begin the process of reskilling and upskilling. What are you waiting for?