The Brookings Institute published one of its yearly economic assessments as 2022 came to a close, outlining some significant results and predictions for the years to come in the infrastructure sector. Obviously, that is a big picture to paint, but it applies to what one does and the firm in which one operates. In order to preserve the long-term viability of their companies and the industry as a whole, firms should prepare themselves for certain gloomy truths that are detailed in these forecasts.
Inter-Metro Transportation, Trade and Logistics, Intra-Metro Transportation, Energy, Telecom, Water, and Public Works are the seven infrastructure sectors, according to Brookings. Each of these fields participated in the research for their study, and the findings are given as data for the entire industry. There is some excellent news and some not-so-good news, as is typical. The following factors favour the industry and provide challenges:
- Over the past 12 to 18 months, there has already been extensive documentation of the need for qualified, physically fit professionals. However, if the data is accurate, this battle is only going to worsen further. According to data from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, these employment terminations will mostly be brought on by events like retirements, with some transfers to other economic sectors and vocations also playing a role.
In order to locate, attract, and train new hires for jobs in the infrastructure sector, the existing emphasis on career development, a broader hiring demographic, and enhancing retention must not only continue but also develop into fully fledged systems. Companies must anticipate waves like the silver tsunami, as some refer to it, or risk getting buried behind them. The moment has come to invest in such innovative paradigms and methods.
2. The developing workforce is significantly more diverse than the current one, which tends to be older (45 years of age and up) and white. But in a broader sense, this indicates the necessity of systemic regulations and constantly altering and evolving workplace hiring practises. Why does that matter? It simply indicates that the methods used to accomplish tasks in the past will not be adequate in the future.
There just won’t be enough applicants for the jobs that will need to be filled if firms continue operating under the current demographics. The statistics are unambiguous: It’s a losing game. Women only make up 18.5% of workers, although they represent 49.6% of all workers nationally, and only 11% of current infrastructure employees are under the age of 24. The good news is that one can take action, and some employers have already started doing so.
During an open panel discussion on hiring procedures at the 2022 IGNITE Construction Summit in December last year, a long-time veteran of the sector shared experiences of the success he’s had hiring young individuals, especially young women, from school-based programs. They are really not lazy, they respond to what you invest in them, he remarked, praising the potential of the younger generation.
How It Benefits
3. Infrastructure occupations foster more equal career trajectories by paying people with lower income levels wages that are about 30% higher.
Infrastructure positions pay $31,750 and $39,270 in the 10th and 25th percentiles, respectively, compared to $23,980 and $29,950 for all professions at these percentiles, based on the Brookings research report.
For those entering the labour market for infrastructure jobs for the first time as well as those changing careers, this translates into greater wage potential. Many people have seen firsthand how climbing the ladder on the job site can lead to various degrees of possible employment growth in the construction industry. Working the way up to managerial or operational positions can occasionally mean doing this. This is a selling point for the infrastructure industry, and it ought to be emphasised during the hiring procedure.
4. Nearly 12% of the nation’s jobs are in the infrastructure industry.
About 95 different sorts of employment are concentrated in the seven fields that make up the Brookings research. These primarily concentrate on operations, however, this simply highlights the industry’s numerous branching career choices and paths. Plumbers, electricians, civil engineers, and other skilled crafts roles hold the majority of these jobs, nonetheless. And of those, the majority of jobs are in the energy and transportation sectors.
Just a Little of Both
5. Due to on-the-job training, the majority of infrastructure workers (53.8%) only have a high school education or less, but they nonetheless enjoy higher salaries and growth than workers in other industries.
On the surface, this looks like a no-brainer for the infrastructure sector, but the truth is in the details. The research has a blade that slices a little bit in both directions when one looks at it closely. First off, this percentage contrasts with other industry sectors where just 32% have a high school diploma or less, indicating that admission into other industries often requires a greater level of education.
However, about 87% of the time, employment in the infrastructure sector requires some kind of on-the-job training. That should be obvious, right? Most visitors to the job site are still learning how to use the equipment, let alone being competent enough to use it for the task at hand.
That said, other industries across the country only required on-the-job training about 63% of the time, which is more than 20% less.
Understanding that new recruits into the infrastructure industry may have a substantial number of challenges in the beginning of their careers is one approach to putting this knowledge into perspective. Additionally, when it comes to determining retention, this is the most important period. This demonstrates the need to put an emphasis on cooperative strategies between education and employers.