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2022 AEC Industry Outlook Survey

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Jacob siuda

Published on 20th December 2021

AEC Industry Outlook Survey for 2022

We surveyed more than 500 architecture, engineering, and construction professionals looking for their thoughts on the future of the AEC industry in 2022. We discovered that AEC firms are on the hunt for new opportunities in 2022, but still reeling from lessons learned in 2021. 

This article delves into the 2022 AEC Industry Outlook Survey, provides expert insight, and explores the steps you can take to position your firm for success in the coming year. 

AEC Firms are Positioned for Growth in 2022

Our survey of more than 500 AEC professionals revealed that most (78%) believe that their firm is positioned for growth in 2022. That’s good news considering the supply chain and sourcing challenges that continue to plague the industry. 

Fortunately, the 2022 engineering and construction industry outlook predicts a rewarding—but challenging—year, on which the industry looks poised to capitalize. 

Lesson for AEC Firms in 2022: The industry may have responded well during the pandemic, but challenges like supply chain disruptions and volatility are expected to be among the biggest challenges in 2022. The firms that can navigate these challenges will likely emerge as winners.

Most AEC Firms Will Employ a Hybrid Workforce

Among survey respondents, 46% of AEC professionals said their firm will employ a hybrid workforce in 2022. These results are in line with recent business surveys that show the emerging transformation of the workforce, but also uncertainty and debate over changes ahead. 

As reported by Engineering News Record, “in an April survey by tax consultant Marcum of 251 middle market CEOs, including those in construction, 82% expect to allow a partially remote workforce post pandemic.” 

Lesson for AEC Firms in 2022: Precautions and vaccines will accelerate the return to the office for some firms, owners and other AEC participants, but there’s a growing sense that workplace adaptations forced by COVID-19 are innovations long needed and here to stay. 

AEC Firms Anticipate Five Challenges in 2022

Among our survey of 500 AEC professionals, more than half (54%) think adapting to a hybrid workforce will be a challenge in 2022. 49% of respondents said meeting tight deadlines would be a challenge in 2022. 

Combined, these results reveal a disconnect between the functionality and capabilities of a hybrid workforce. In other words, AEC professionals in 2022 are worried that the realities of hybrid work will limit their productivity and hinder their ability to meet the demands of their job. 

Challenge One: Adapting to Hybrid Workforce

From construction and real estate to engineering and architecture, our survey reveals that hybrid workforces are now the norm throughout the built world. AEC firms must now adapt to the new environment if they are to survive in the industry. Fortunately,  there are several guides for AEC firms looking to adapt to hybrid work in 2022. 

Challenge Two: Employee Retention

One of the largest challenges emerging from the pandemic will be retaining and attracting workers. According to a workforce survey, 89% are struggling to find enough qualified workers.

The survey results underscore how the coronavirus pandemic has created constraints on the demand for work even as it limits the number of workers available to hire. The impact of positions left open can negatively affect AEC firms in more ways than one, including:

  • project delays and cancellations, 
  • projects reduced or scaled back, 
  • inability to respond to market needs, 
  • lost project bids, and
  • a failure to innovate, among others.

Challenge Thee: Meeting Tight Deadlines

In addition to the worker shortage and adapting to hybrid work, our survey shows that AEC professionals are worried about meeting tight deadlines. At the core of this fear is a lack of faith in the hybrid workforce’s ability to be productive.

Challenge Four: Winning New Business

According to research by the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), AEC marketers are increasingly turning to business-to-consumer (B2C) approaches to target clients and prospects. 

This corroborates the results of our AEC survey, which revealed 42% of AEC professionals foresee winning new business to be a challenge in 2022. When combined, these results reveal a willingness among AEC professionals to adopt new technologies and methodologies to remain competitive in this changing market.

Challenge Five: Digital Asset Management

The results of this 2022 AEC Outlook survey corroborate the results of an earlier poll, which revealed that 63% of AEC marketers said they struggle to manage the digital assets (images, brand material, videos, etc) they need to provide a consistent brand image across multiple channels.

Fortunately, in the survey of post-pandemic trends impacting AEC marketing, 94% of AEC marketers said they now leverage martech solutions to adjust to new challenges. 45% of respondents said their tech stack now includes more than one martech solution. 

Lesson for AEC Firms in 2022: Due to the ongoing labor shortage and uncertainty over hybrid work, AEC professionals fear that they will be less productive in 2022. As we move into 2022, adapting to new labor strategies and integrating with productivity enhancing technologies could be critical to navigating workforce challenges.

AEC Firms Plan to Overcome Challenges With New Technology

Among survey respondents, nearly 74% said they plan to implement new technologies to help overcome key challenges. Fortunately, the number of AEC technology vendors servicing the AEC space has grown exponentially over the past three years. 

Private equity and venture capital investment are also at an all-time high, as those outside the industry see the opportunity to make investments. In other words, firms are eager to get their hands on any solution that enables them to be more productive and remain competitive in 2022. 

Despite the challenges, our survey and others show that AEC is poised to grow alongside technological advancements in the coming years. And innovative martech solutions like OpenAsset are making it easier for AEC marketers to do more in less time. 

Designed for firms in the built world, OpenAsset is the preferred project-based DAM solution for Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Real Estate firms across the world. Follow the link for more insights on the AEC industry or schedule a demo of OpenAsset with one of our solution experts. Don’t forget to follow OpenAsset on social media for exclusive offers and valuable insight for AEC and Real Estate firms.