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Geopolitical instability, workforce issues top construction risks

Posted On: Apr. 19, 2017 10:57 AM CST

Executives in the construction sector named geopolitical instability and workforce management issues as the biggest challenges facing their industry, Willis Towers Watson P.L.C. said in a report released Wednesday. 

Geopolitical issues were the top threat overall, primarily due to uncertainty of government support and financing, postponement and delays, changes in strategy, and commitment to project pipelines, Willis Towers Watson said in its Construction Risk Index report. 

Workforce management issues are the second-leading threat, triggered by the increasing requirement for digital skills, a global employee network and disparate labor laws making workforce demands even more complex. The need to attract talent, combined with aging populations, is likely to have the most long-term impact on the industry, the report said.

Willis Towers Watson surveyed 350 C-suite executives across the globe to look at the most significant megatrends and critical risks facing the construction sector.

“Our data show that the biggest challenges to the success of construction companies are heavily influenced by political stability and human resources,” Paul Becker, Willis Towers Watson’s global construction practice leader, said in a statement accompanying the report. “Risk management strategies must continually be re-examined to meet these challenges and should remain a top boardroom priority for construction companies so they can protect themselves from emerging risks and build a competitive advantage.”

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

“The industry is vulnerable not just to the loss of data but also during the design stage, where the increase in the use of technology could lead to catastrophic results,” Mr. Becker said. “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.”