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As we move away from FY20 – a particularly difficult year for most businesses – the FY21 business and operational environment for construction, engineering, infrastructure, and design firms are going to continue to change. These environmental and model changes will, of course, have a flow-on effect to how we all recruit and retain staff and top talent with new generation skills.

At a Federal and State Government level, it’s clear that through heavy investment and fast-tracking projects, Australia’s leaders believe our industry is key to the economic recovery that is to follow.  From residential housing to large infrastructure projects like Inland Rail there will be many opportunities within our sectors.

However, we will continue to feel deep-set recruitment challenges like, but not limited to, resource shortages, talent being targeted by different industries, international recruitment difficulties etc.

At CGC, we want to support our clients and the industry to achieve positive personal, professional and commercial outcomes throughout FY21 and beyond.  As part of this support, we’re introducing CGC In Focus - a market intelligence response to the current business and economic climate, where our recruitment experts provide insights and highlight challenges and opportunities. 

Post COVID Recruitment Intelligence

With that in mind, we’ve put our heads together and come up with the ten new generation skills that all employers should be looking for in FY21, to help deal with the changing business landscape to adapt to the new normal. To a lesser or greater degree, all recruits – management, technical and support – should display these traits.

  1. Creative thinking – businesses will undoubtedly need creative thinkers who can make operational changes in just days and weeks instead of months and years. From management to procurement, and HR to technical staff, companies need people who can think outside the box.
  2. Clients and markets – in FY21, we can’t think in our own business bubbles, we’ll need to (and sorry for the cliché) put clients at the centre of everything we do. I know a lot of businesses say they do this, however in practice, it’s a lot more difficult than it sounds.  To truly put their customers first, businesses will need quality sales, marketing, communications (including internal), and account/client management skills throughout their teams.
  3. Customer service – in Q3 and 4 of FY20, some of the most sought-after personnel across many industries were customer service people. During volatile times, customers need to know what’s going on - quickly.  They don’t want to fill out forms or use chatbots… they want to talk to someone at that moment, in person.  As well as meeting their needs and creating roles in this area, it’s important that all staff understand the basics of good customer services.
  4. Complex problem-solving – in our industry, this goes without saying, however, we may need to turn some of this problem-solving power on our own businesses to solve complex post-COVID-19 issues. This could include how we do business, what markets we’re in, funding, risk management planning, forming partnerships, and more.
  5. Strong people management – sometimes our managers can be more technical than people-oriented. But if we want to retain top talent, our industry needs to be able to effectively manage our people at every level. This can also be a Learning and Development (L&D) activity, where businesses can upskill their managers of the future.
  6. Teaming - some people are naturally good at working within a team, while others struggle and would prefer to work solo. As we may increasingly work physically apart in FY21, teams will need to find new ways to effectively collaborate and engage with all teammates.
  7. EQ - or emotional intelligence – as we start seeing increases in flexible work arrangements and fewer staff grouped together in physical offices, employees are going to need to be more aware of their own, and their colleagues’, emotions and ways of approaching tasks and communications. This is not only an employee wellness issue but also relevant to remote teamwork and potentially conflict resolution.
  8. IT and Technical – going forward, there will be less room for digital dinosaurs. After all, it doesn’t matter how good someone’s skills are if they can’t share it with their team or your clients.  Like management skills, this may also be a continuing L&D theme.
  9. Flexibility – if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we can and now have to be flexible. Members of staff who lack cognitive flexibility may struggle to deal with fast and constantly changing situations, new requirements in the workplace, and from the impact of the virus on Australia’s economy and society.
  10. A wider understanding of business and market factors – staff need to go beyond their roles to understand what you are trying to achieve as a business and the current industry/economic environment. This will help them across all the above points.  However, this is a two-way street, and business must do their best to keep teams up to date, especially on important matters.

Get your copy of - CGC in Focus

At CGC Recruitment, our team of experienced consultants specialise in all major infrastructure, engineering, and construction sectors. We help clients throughout Australia deliver their projects by attracting the best candidates and talent.

To support our industry, share our recruitment insights and adopt the new generation skills, we have created CGC in Focus.  To register for a copy of CGC in Focus, click here.


Alternatively, to discuss a recruitment matter, connect with CGC today and one of our experienced consultants will be happy to help.