We invest heavily in training, development and education. Globally we support 562 employees on trades, professional and academic programmes.
Not enough young people are pursuing careers in construction. Unless this trend is reversed, the growth of our sector – and the wider economy – will be impacted.
In the UK, the number of 16–19 year-olds in our industry has halved since the recession, while nearly one-fifth of the workforce is within ten years of retirement. At the same time, Australia’s resources boom – coupled with an ageing and relatively small population – has led to a severe skills shortage.
Meanwhile, our increasingly sophisticated delivery processes will demand much more of our workforce. To ensure we have the right capabilities, it is vital we are able to attract and retain the very best people by offering rewarding careers with real development opportunities.
ATTRACTING YOUNG PEOPLE
To hedge against skills gaps we are working with schools and colleges to inspire more young people to consider careers in construction. Through a combination of learning experiences and vocational guidance, our project teams help students make informed career choices by providing an exciting insight into the many different roles our industry offers.
At the same time we are investing in world-class education – not only to grow our own talent but, more broadly, to help build the skills our industry will need to meet future engineering challenges profitably and sustainably.
Our global network of academic partnerships includes some of the world’s most renowned institutions. Working with the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London, for example, we have developed two unique masters degrees. Open to applicants around the world, the programmes seek to develop the next generation of industry innovators, challenging candidates to rethink current practices.
Construction and engineering is still regarded as a predominantly male domain. Yet we cannot resolve the skills gap without addressing this imbalance. We must work harder to encourage diversity in all its forms – or risk seriously restricting the pool of talent we have to choose from.
We recently began monitoring ethnic diversity through our employee profiling system. We also track gender ratios across the business – with particular attention on our high-potential talent programmes.
ENGAGING OUR EMPLOYEES
Our employee engagement score is, in essence, a measure of how satisfied our people are in their jobs. We therefore regard it as a key indicator of our ability to retain talent. Every year we track this figure through our employee survey. In 2015 we once again achieved an exceptional result – with a score of 72 per cent against a global average of 54 per cent.