This year is forcing us revaluate many things in our lives. With the raging Covid- 19 pandemic, the very bases of daily life as we knew have undergone an unimagined metamorphosis. There is a ‘new normal’ around us and new compulsory scenarios have emerged. Economies are suffering and many industries and sectors are badly hit; most noticeably travel, tourism and hospitality sectors will take a long time to recover. At such a time, it is important for the youth who are making career choices to evaluate the post Covid-19 scenarios and accordingly choose a sector.

However, all is not gloomy as some opportunities have also emerged and our youth need to recognise them and utilise their time wisely. Two sectors that continue to witness growth are – technology and real estate and infrastructure. Technology has emerged as the key to growth and enabling continuity in day to day life. Real estate and infrastructure requirements are timeless and growth in this sector is expected to bring prosperity for our country’s economy too. This article will lay out opportunities in real estate, construction, and infrastructure sectors, together called Built Environment (BE) sector.

Opportunities post Covid-19 in the real estate, construction, and infrastructure sector

Like any other industry, the Built Environment (BE) sector too was battling its own challenges before the pandemic and due to lockdowns, the impact was immense, yet the industry, with the government’s support, is already working towards rectifying most of its issues. Although the next 6 to 12 months may be turbu- lent, but the sec- tor is expected to experience growth thereafter and the demand for skilled professionals is likely to be huge. The practical way forward for the BE sector would be an increased use of technology, and people who upskill themselves will stand a better chance where employability is concerned.

Employability in a post Covid-19 world

Postgraduates who have a sector specific management degree and role specific skills will find it easier to find employment in the post Covid-19 world. This hiatus in the economy is a good time for the youth to upskill themselves. In about 12 to 15 months the economy is expected to start turning around and demand for skilled professionals will be on the rise. Most organisations are using this time to introspect and redefine their requirements but basis the current situation, there is expected to be an increased demand for the following job roles in the construction and real estate sector:

Claims and dispute resolution

When work resumes after a long break, disputes are bound to arise in contracts and many contracts will have to be rewritten. This will give rise to more job roles in this field. Those who have an MBA degree in Construction Economics and Quantity Surveying (CEQS) have the skills and capability of reviewing construction contracts and establishing effective contract management procedures to reduce the likelihood of disputes arising.

Supply chain management in construction industry

The supply chain in the construction industry was completely disrupted because of the lockdowns and sealed borders between states. The industry came to a complete standstill due to a shortage of critical components and material. To ensure that the organisations avoid such a disruption in the future, they will try to strengthen any weak links in the supply chain system.

Health and safety: Covid- 19 has exposed the need to make health and safety a core priority for any organisation and they are establishing risk mitigating programs for employees who need to work on-site.

Roles in financial feasibility

Financial feasibility of new and ongoing projects will need to be assessed and reviewed to see how revolving credit, loans, cash flow reserves etc can impact the profitability and how to work in a low revenue environment. Postgraduates from all real estate streams like CEQS, Construction Project Management (CPM) and Real Estate and Urban Infrastructure (REUI) are proficient in assessing client requirements and undertaking feasibility studies.

Sound technical knowledge

Once the pandemic subsides and the industry picks up pace, organisations are likely to upgrade their technical infrastructure to reduce dependence on migrant labour. Several products and services in the sector can be on cloud-based deployment; digitisation combined with a strong network infrastructure can help to substantially mitigate losses. All this will lead to a global increase in demand for Business Information Modelling (BIM) solutions and students who are trained in BIM, AutoCad, Revit and other software related to it will be in more demand.

The future generally looks bleak when one is facing a crisis but at the same time, a crisis is also an opportunity waiting to be tapped. This is the right time for young professionals or budding professionals to explore and evaluate the available options and newer opportunities, which are materialising. To be a winner in the post Covid future, it is important to arm and upskill oneself as per the demands of the time to come so that you can benefit from the emerging opportunities.

The writer is managing director, RICS School of Built Environment