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An Eye on Future | Geospatial World

28 March 2014—Center's report was mentioned on

Tuning into the sound of the crowd

Today, sharing your point-of-view on everything from the fortunes of your favourite football team, to the best tropical beach, to spend your hard-earned vacations days lazing on, is simply a matter of opening a Web browser, tweeting or posting to Facebook. This easy access to large crowds offers the industry a couple of interesting possibilities. Firstly, the prospect of accelerating the consultation and permitting processes for construction. Consider the increasingly complex urban environments in which we live and the growing number of stakeholders who need to be consulted and you can begin to see the attraction of sharing your project details via crowdsourcing.

Now consider the skill crisis we hear about in construction — an aging workforce, a lack of apprenticeships during the Great Recession, a perception of this being a sunset industry as a career option. In fact, according to a study released earlier this year by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), 69% of architects, engineers and contractors expect a shortage of skilled workers over the next three years, with 32% anticipating a shortage of specialty trade contractors by 2014. And for the impact specifically to the construction industry, consider this: according to the Talent Pressures and Aging Workforce Industry Report Series conducted by the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, of the 58 construction firms surveyed, 50% indicated the aging workforce would “negatively” or “very negatively” affect their businesses — a figure significantly higher than other business sectors studied. With baby boomers in the West rapidly approaching retirement age, the industry faces a significant skills gap as fewer skilled workers are available to take their place.

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