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Megatrends for Construction in 2023 and Beyond

Looking to the year ahead, there are several challenges and opportunities on the horizon for the construction industry that will require new ways of working and maybe even hiring in the months ahead. Let’s take a closer look at predictions for 2023 and beyond—and identify some of the biggest trends to watch specifically in construction.

A new whitepaper from JLG Industries, an Oshkosh Corp. company, highlights five emerging megatrends to watch in the next five years, as we enter a post-pandemic era. Let’s explore each of these five areas briefly and some other thoughts as well.

Shifts in Growth and Trade: Prior to the pandemic, construction companies became dependent on suppliers from just a few key countries. Now, this trend is transitioning to region-for-region supply chains to create more diversification. As part of this, we are also witnessing the rapid move to electrification—and an electric-vehicle powertrain has 79% fewer moving and wear parts, which means more time and costs must be spent in research and development. Add to this telematics and autonomous operation, and the manufacturing of technology, and it’s no wonder the value chain is quickly taking new shape.

Stronger Societal Deal: Sustainability is at the forefront of many initiatives, as the world take center stage for clean energy and reduce emissions. We are also seeing the rise of new legislation and regulations that are accelerating these efforts—which I recently talked about on The Peggy Smedley Show. Construction companies can expect new products and technologies to emerge as a part of this transformation.

Accelerating Disruption: Technology has flourished for construction, even if the industry has been historically slower to adopt than other industries. JLG suggests advances in technology will allow the industry to take advantages of improvement in three key areas including: safety, efficiency, and productivity.

Digitally Powered Customer: Everything is connected to the internet these days, which is the heart of everything we do at Connected World. This is becoming more apparent in the construction industry, as equipment becomes more connected. JLG’s recommendation of embracing technologies that eliminate pain points and drive efficiencies hit the mark, while also applying the technology to provide tangible benefits to the business and the bottomline. This will be critical, as we will continue to see connectivity increase in all walks of life. As I have shared in this column before, technology is connected to every aspect of our work, home, and play.

New Ways of Working: We have been facing a worker shortage for years—even before the pandemic ushered in a new era of working. Combine with this new safety protocols and high demand, and it has created the perfect storm so to speak. And in the JLG sees this leading to a new set of skills around the tools and technologies to aid business growth, employee retention, and hiring. Workers will need digital capabilities to help businesses thrive, especially as we see the rise of autonomous and semi-autonomous technologies at the jobsite.

While JLG suggests these predictions will take shape in the next five years, I do believe we will see these some of trends emerging in 2023. I have been having many conversations already on several of these trends in the past several months.

As an example, at Year in Infrastructure, I had a conversation with several executives about the importance of people, process, and technology—and how one of the legs of the stool is collapsing under the weight of the worker shortage. We developed some ideas for how technology can help attract and retain the workers of the future.

On the flip side of the coin, as companies fear the economy is teetering on the edge of a recession, they might consider “quiet hiring” as the perfect alternative. Quiet hiring might enable companies to find the best candidates to fill essential positions without hiring fulltime positions or even upskilling within companies.

At the end of the day, it is important to recognize that the way we work in the construction industry is in fact changing very rapidly—and we need to prepare our businesses for the changes that are coming next. How are you preparing for 2023?

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