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In the most recent ACEC Research Institute Engineering Business Sentiment report for Q2 2023, 91% of firms have job openings and 56% of firms have had to turn away work because they did not have the staff to complete the job. Additionally, the Deltek Clarity report surveying the AEC industry notes that the top talent acquisition challenge was the “availability of good candidates.”

With the current labor market (and really any market) there are two factors at play – supply and demand. Let’s think about the problem differently than we usually do — not from the supply of workers and demand of positions, but the demand from workers compared to the supply of jobs.

In this case, our demand comes from the number of people who are qualified and want to work (or could want to work) in a role, and it is affected by factors like demographics, need for training, immigration, and other socioeconomic forces – things often outside an individual company’s control. The supply takes the form of the jobs to be filled, something that companies have more control over.

One area where we are seeing a great demand from workers is for positions in all types of data analysis. In 2023, data professionals are starting to look outside the Information Technology sector for these types of jobs, and this very insightful analysis by the Glassdoor Economic Research team, Data Scientists Are Still the Talk of the Town, illustrates the point well.

Yet, there is not a strong supply of those positions in our industry. The sectors for Transportation & Construction are still offering a low supply of those jobs, ranking near the bottom of data and advanced data roles available. Speaking with Glassdoor’s Chief Economist Aaron Terrazas, Transportation & Logistics Data Scientist reviews are only 2% of all Data Scientist reviews on their platform. This contrasts with 30% of Data Scientist reviews from the Tech industry.

The information below shows a clear contrast of data job availability varying by industry, with Transportation ahead of only Healthcare, Government and Non-Profit sectors in terms of “advanced” data jobs. The Construction sector is equal to Non-Profits.

Table 1: Share of Data Scientists by Occupational Subgroup and Sector

What the data is telling us is that the industry has not yet “matured” in terms of offering cutting-edge data positions. The challenge then becomes not just having the supply of jobs to attract top candidates, but also the right supply. Companies that find a way to utilize and integrate these positions into their firms are poised to have an advantage.


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June 7, 2023


ACEC NEWS, Private Markets, Workforce Development

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