The end of 2021 is approaching and AEC firms are focusing their attention to new opportunities in 2022. AEC firms are looking to grow while dealing with the challenges that coincide with today’s hybrid workforce, working with dissimilar systems and creating impactful proposals to win new business. There will not be a return to the “Normal.” The AEC industry is expected to accelerate once again in 2022, but the economic recovery will not happen quickly. There will be the creation of the “New Abnormal” for architecture, engineering, and construction.
Businesses and organizations are struggling with rapid transformation across all industry sectors, including the AEC sector. Our world is changing rapidly and businesses must learn to adapt accordingly to trends. The AEC industry must therefore pay attention to business trends that lie ahead in 2022 and beyond to discover where the greatest opportunities will exist.
Five of those business trends include:
Every organization must seek to eliminate or reduce the environmental costs of doing business and forward-thinking businesses are looking to improve sustainability across all business operations. Sustainability is linked to resilience and being able to adapt and survive for the long term. AEC businesses must embrace sustainability to succeed in 2022 and beyond.
The variability and availability of talent in the AEC industry is evolving. Younger people are entering the workforce, older workers are leaving the workforce, and more people are working remotely. There is a shortage of skilled workers to fill the needs in the AEC industry. The challenge to recruit, hire and retain talent will continue in 2022.
Traditionally, organizations have been very hierarchical and rigid in their structures, but the rigidity is changing. AEC leaders must recognize that flatter, more agile structures are required to allow flexibility to quickly reorganize teams and respond to change.
Today’s consumers seek a more meaningful connection with brands. Authenticity helps foster human connections that display empathy, honesty, humility, reliability and perhaps some level of vulnerability and fear. AEC leaders must understand that authenticity is a business trend and respond accordingly.
There will be transformative technology trends in 2022 including increased digitization, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality. The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated a five-year acceleration of technology in five months and an increased focus of the technology acceleration continues.
Jim Highsmith, American software engineer and author of software development and methodology books shares some great advice for looking at business trends and what lies ahead. “Agility is the ability to adapt and respond to change … agile organizations view change as an opportunity, not a threat.”
Glenn Ebersole is a registered professional engineer and is the Director of Business Development at JL Architects, a West Chester-based architectural firm serving clients locally, regionally and nationally. He can be reached at [email protected] or 717-575-8572.