BUILDING INSIGHTS: A watch list of five challenges for the AEC industry in 2023 and beyond [Column]

The AEC industry is progressing through an unprecedented transformation, accelerated exponentially by the pandemic. Architecture, Engineering and Construction firms have and will continue to be significantly impacted by by supply chain bottlenecks, labor and resource shortages, shifting regulatory constraints, and rising costs.

So, what is on the watch list of key trends for AEC organizations to keep in mind as they plan for the future, while still adjusting and adapting to the “New Abnormal” in 2023 and beyond?

No. 1 — Uncertainty & Unpredictability

Today, market volatility is the paramount concern of any business.  AEC companies now, more than ever, must search deeper into their customers and prospects to fully comprehend their clients and prospects. AEC companies must confidently identify key differentiators by speaking with their customers, staff, and strategic partners to learn what has differentiated them from the competition and what has not.

No. 2 — Change

People and the companies where they work are resistant to change. Complacency is not an option and creating new value and growth frequently necessitates strategic thinking about new tools and processes to be adopted and deployed.

Outsourcing in a company’s business plan is becoming more prevalent. A 2019 Deloitte report stated the outsourcing and shared services market would develop “at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 7.4 percent from 2019 to reach US$ 971.2 billion by 2023.” According to the report, the OSS market will exceed $ 1 trillion in the next six years if current growth rates continue.

No. 3 — Meeting Deadlines/Lack of Resources

The AEC industry is facing fierce competition for the best employees. It is essential to make investments in technology that will improve everyone and their jobs. Maintaining and even enhancing current processes is one of the most important criteria to consider when looking at new technology products. An outsourcing partner can be a strategic extension of a firm that can work on projects and solve problems outside of the primary company’s business hours because of the time zone differences.

No. 4 — Remote/Hybrid Work Model

Collaboration capabilities are essential for simplifying workflows, especially in remote and dispersed teams. Fostering a positive work culture, robust business and financial models that support team growth, and development and growth possibilities are critical. Today, job seekers and current employees are in a stronger position to choose where they work because they can find another fantastic employer, earn more money and have more flexibility due to the expansion of the AEC industry.

No. 5 — Succession Planning

Younger generations are entering the workforce with varying expectations from earlier generations. A strong pipeline for future talent in the AEC industry requires expertise as a highly prized resource, so firms must balance the experience of older personnel with the addition of younger employees. The younger generation demands a solid technological environment in relation to technology, in addition to wanting it. Younger generations have less patience for outdated technology and procedures, which ultimately causes turnover and corporate churn.

A Closing Thought

“Our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

Glenn Ebersole is a registered professional engineer and is the Director of Business Development at JL Architects, a West Chester-based architectural firm serving clients locally, regionally and nationally. He can be reached at [email protected] or 717-575-8572.

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