Engineering & Construction: Being successful in the new normal

11 January, 2018

Mike Sobolewski
Engineering and Construction Industry Leader, PwC US

PwC recently had the privilege of hosting our seventh annual Engineering & Construction Executive Roundtable in Arizona. We examined both the macro and micro trends affecting the industry and discussed practical solutions for dealing with the rapidly shifting environment. From the comments we received both during and after the event, we’re pleased to note the roundtable was a success. A special thank you to our esteemed industry speakers who generously shared their ideas about “Being successful in the new normal.”

For those who were unable to join us, below is a brief recap of the major topics we covered:

  • The E&C market trends, themes, and challenges. The engineering and construction market is facing unprecedented disruption that is causing it to continue to consolidate in search of growth, navigate changing customer requirements, and attempt to digest how digital innovations will re-orient the competitive landscape. 2018 will be a pivotal year for firms to address these challenges as the market continues to evolve.
  • Design and construction sector outlook. Commercial construction has experienced strong growth in the last year, and an uptick in advanced manufacturing is expected in 2018. The E&C industry as a whole still faces challenges associated with a constrained craft labor supply and a lack of investment in efficiency improvements.
  • How digital is changing the E&C industry. Despite promising advances in technology and enticing use cases, digital innovation faces headwinds in E&C – it is seen as a productivity initiative that will inevitably lead to headcount reduction. Focusing initial digital improvements on “safe” (i.e., non-headcount related) areas can break the impasse. Examples include safety, quality, new service offerings, and improving client interface points.
  • How talent management is evolving. A younger workforce is creating unique challenges as firms try to adapt to the motivations of younger workers who are seeking experiences and leadership styles that can clash with traditional E&C cultures. Bechtel shared how changing the way they think about talent is driving real improvement: selecting talent with the right cultural fit by clearly defining expected behaviors and habits for employees and investing in their engagement has resulted in tangible improvements in morale and productivity.
  • The impact of changing financial standards. New standards aren’t changing how business is being conducted, but leading E&Cs are using the new rules as a mechanism to streamline and automate processes.