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What Motivates Future Leaders within the Construction Industry?

Jan 9th 2018 11:01am

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The next generation of business leaders puts purpose at the center of their career, a new international survey amongst 19- to 26-year-olds shows.

The Future Skills Survey, conducted by Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, found that 89% of respondents defined success as having a positive impact upon society and others, and sent a clear message to businesses that they should take a stronger stance on addressing societal issues. Almost two-thirds of respondents (63%) shared the view that they would like to work in a company that helps build up the local community, both literally and in principal.

The survey, which assessed the views of 3,500 respondents in the UK, USA, South Africa and China, who were either at university or had graduated in the last three years, also calls into question the idea of working in an industry for life, with over two thirds (69%) stating they envisage having more than one career or would like to adapt and change from their initial entry position.

Peter Tufano, Peter Moores Dean and Professor of Finance, Oxford Saïd, said:

‘So many of the views were shared globally, with young people across the globe embracing a societal purpose and insisting that businesses do so as well. Our survey results show that meaningful initiatives are becoming a standard practice especially within the construction environment where our results indicate that it has the most direct impact on local communities.’

The survey also found that the flexibility is a key motivator for workers within the construction environment, with studies showing a preference towards a more varied working day as well as ‘a good work-life balance’. Earning a significant pay check ranked just eleventh in the list of their career priorities.

2 in 3 respondents (67%) felt optimistic about their future careers but said that business success depended on developing a set of soft skills – most importantly problem-solving, communication, decision-making and leadership skills. All of which is not only essential within the construction environment but also becoming part of the standard practises. 

‘A desire for flexibility and control over their careers is causing people to reassess traditional career routes, making and entering into the construction environment an attractive proposition,’ Professor Tufano commented. ‘This, combined with an understanding that technological advancement is changing the role of work, means we may be moving to a world in which individuals work in multiple industries and undertake several retraining periods in their long working lives. The challenge for business schools is to adapt and rethink the timing and structure of a ‘lifetime of education’, which our new digital programmes on fintech and blockchain start to address.’

What seems to be motivating our future leaders seems to lean towards work within the construction environment. The flexibility and changing nature of the industry motivates the next generation; ultimately indicating through this study, that the positive impact that is being built around us is not only attractive socially but also for more and more graduates entering the jobs market.

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