Wider career benefits need promotion

Construction professionals including those in transportation need to become better at selling careers to the next generation, by promoting the benefits of the work rather than the size of salaries, a conference heard on Thursday.

Bechtel’s head of UK corporate human resources Paul Oatham told the FT Future of Construction Summit: “Millennials are more concerned about a degree of flexibility and control over what they do. They want to get something more out of a job such as engaging with community groups, rather than what is in the dry job description.”

He welcomed “eye catching” initiatives such as the BBC’s current documentary about the construction of Crossrail and added that companies should be doing more to promote the fact that the industry is awash with innovation.

“To showcase our industry to those we want to attract we really need to start presenting ourselves in the best light and in a more unified manner. We have a fantastic story to tell,” he said. “We probably need to communicate that better, as well as the variety: it isn’t all about pouring concrete and fixing steel.”

Construction Industry Training Board chief executive Sarah Beale added that some schools and careers advisors continue to show an outdated picture of what industry can look like, as opposed to talking about “the plethora of opportunities, brilliant careers and diversity the industry has to offer”.

“The onus is on us to get that message into careers advisors and schools,” she said.

CIHT is encouraging its members help inspre a new generation of transportation professionals by becoming STEM ambassadors and sharing their experiences of the sector in local schools, colleges and universities. To find out more click here.