**As published on AESC BlueSteps

Author: Chris Swan

Looking out across a construction site with dozens of workers scurrying from place to place, a construction leader once said, we can’t see dramatic cost reductions and quality improvements without innovations. Thankfully, across the industry organizations from general contractors to subcontractors and suppliers are rapidly taking advantage of the influx of new technologies that are poised to bring the construction industry into the 21st century, which is a good thing since according to the McKinsey’s 2015 Global Institute Industry Digitization Index, construction as an industry is at the bottom of the stack of industries for digitization.

Innovation in a rising wage environment is essential, and with industry forecasts from economists at the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), American Institute of Architects (AIA), and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) all predicting continued growth pressure for 2018, we are certainly heading into a market of increasing wages. In some markets, such as Denver and Washington, DC, finding labor if you don’t have it can be virtually impossible. As an example, a subcontractor had spent two million dollars on Per Diem alone in 2017. Finding talent is one problem and keeping talent is another. Recruiting and retention are high on nearly everyone’s priority list and this is true at the executive level as well. The economy is at historic low unemployment for leadership, professional, and executive staff. At the higher levels, the question about talent focuses squarely on executive ability, leadership qualities, and team fit. Hiring managers and top leadership often don’t know exactly what they need, but they know they need a higher level of ability and are scrambling to implement effective solutions without sacrificing quality. This plays a role in why the construction industry is relatively slow to implement new ideas and innovations. A new approach to construction that has a disastrous effect on a project can have nearly fatal consequences for the implementor, so all good construction leaders have learned to be cautious. However, success goes to the bold and business is changing faster than ever, and it is changing slower than it ever will again.

Thus, here are some current trends that are keeping CEO’s up at night...

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