Industry 4.0 And Short-Term Outlook for AEC Industry Workforce
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Technology is uniquely transforming our society to a significant degree. This transformation has been described as Industry 4.0 and encompasses machine learning, computerization, automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Industry 4.0 is currently impacting the United States’ workplace and is projected in continue uniquely changing our society over the next twenty years or so. Looking specifically at the AEC industry, this paper researches how the AEC industry workplace could be impacted by Industry 4.0 over the next several years. The hypothesis that jobs more at risk for automation should see low or negative growth and lower wages over the next several years was tested by using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) occupational wage data and growth projections to create an opportunity value for each occupation, and then evaluating the relationship between the opportunity value and probability of automation. A statistical significance was found between the two variables. The hypothesis that certain skills are particularly associated with high growth/high wage jobs versus low growth/low wage jobs was tested by scraping important skills/qualities from the individual occupational webpages hosted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and then comparing the approximately top 80% of skills scraped between the two groups. Certain skills/qualities were found to be particularly associated with each group. Finally, the occupations associated with the AEC industry were compared with the findings from the first two hypotheses. The discoveries were that the AEC industry is potentially more susceptible to Industry 4.0 than other industries. This research is of significance because research into how the AEC industry workplace will be impacted by Industry 4.0 over the next several years was not found in the research background, and it has implications on potential career choices, skill requirements, and areas of research and development. Recommendations for future work include utilizing new data sources, Monte Carlo simulations, cohort analysis, and cluster analysis to make more specific forecasts on Industry 4.0’s impact on the AEC industry.