Construction industry impacted by geopolitical and people risks

Geopolitical instability and workforce management issues are the biggest challenges facing construction sector executives, according to new research released by Willis Towers Watson.

The Construction Risk Index from the multinational brokerage ranks top mega-trends facing the sector and 350 C-suite executives across the globe were surveyed to look at the most significant megatrends and critical risks facing the sector.

Jon Hetherington, Industry Leader – Major Projects, Construction, Australasia, at Willis Towers Watson, said: “Our data shows that the biggest challenges to the success of construction companies are heavily influenced by political stability and human resources. Risk management strategies will need to be continually re-examined to meet these challenges and must remain a top boardroom priority for construction companies to protect themselves from emerging risks and to build competitive advantage.”

The increasing requirement for digital skills, a global employee network and disparate labour laws, means workforce demands are becoming ever more complex. Combined with ageing populations, the need to attract talent is likely to have the longest term impact on the industry, according to the report.

The research also highlighted the extent to which digitalisation and new technologies continue to be neglected by industry leaders, in spite of the increased security threat from cyber-attacks and data privacy breaches.

Hetherington said: “Commercial builders rated increasingly narrow operating margins as their number one concern, reflecting the tight market and the need for diligent risk management assessment. The industry is vulnerable not just in relation to the loss of data but also at the design and technology stage thanks to an increase in the use of technology – and the results could be catastrophic”.

“As technological uses grow, cyber threat awareness and training should form part of any cyber security strategy, focusing on helping employees identify, report and mitigate an attack effectively.”