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Welcome to the December issue of Voices, a collection of insights on the workforce of the future. Spending shortfalls—projected to total some $5.5 trillion worldwide when compared with the level needed to maintain current GDP growth—are already straining global infrastructure. But another threat looms as well. Infrastructure faces a labor shortage due to retirement, a working-age population with different workforce preferences, and increasing degrees of automation that leave workers worried about the sustainability of their jobs.

Modern infrastructure and capital projects demand new skill sets in every phase, by every actor involved. To develop the workforce of the future, leaders must sharpen their focus on culture, organizational structures, and the incentives required to attract and retain top-tier talent.

Ushering in the workforce of the future will require the integration of new talent and the retraining of existing talent, with fresh perspectives from a diverse workforce becoming much more critical for success. Both public- and private-sector leaders will need to create detailed plans focused on managing talent—enhancing capacities and skills while also advancing cultures of safety, innovation, and inclusion.

This issue emphasizes the essential qualities of the future workforce, as well as the leadership required to steer this transformation. We hope you find these outlooks insightful and welcome your thoughts on the topic.


Antonio De Gregorio
Partner, Madrid
McKinsey & Company

Giulia Siccardo
Associate partner, San Francisco
McKinsey & Company

More Articles


Improving the well-being of construction workers is a key component of successful major projects and an ethical imperative. Tideway’s chief technical officer, Roger Bailey, shares his perspective.

Roger Bailey, Tideway


New skills and new entrants are needed in infrastructure-project delivery. Fortunately, the workforce of the future might be closer to home than expected.

Greg Bentley, Bentley Systems


The energy, resources, and infrastructure sectors are low on a crucial source of talent: women. New data shed light on the size of the problem—and point to potential solutions.

Donatela Bellone, Layan Kutob, Giulia Siccardo, and Jillian Noël, McKinsey & Company


As the construction industry evolves, industry leaders share their takes on how the workforce will respond.


The next generation of workers see the world differently than their parents did. Laurie Mahon, vice chair of CIBC’s global investment banking business, explains what this means for the infrastructure industry.

Laurie Mahon, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce


Industry leaders convened to address environmental and technological disruptions, their impacts on the infrastructure industry, and paths for moving forward.

Kimberly Henderson, Shannon Peloquin, Giulia Siccardo, and Holly Skillin, McKinsey & Company


Infrastructure builds hard assets—but rising complexity and diversity mean that the soft skills will matter more for future success, say infrastructure experts Greg Stanmore and Bruce Williamson.

Greg Stanmore and Bruce Williamson, Spencer Stuart


It’s more important than ever for leaders to overcome fears and embrace the new energy landscape. Empowering consumers to make informed decisions can help.

Katy George, McKinsey & Company, and Lynn Jurich, Sunrun


The current labor shortage is just one reason why automation, if approached in the right way, could have a positive effect on the construction industry.

Michael Chui and Jan Mischke, McKinsey & Company


The mobility, energy and infrastructure sectors are converging and will need to adapt to major disruptive forces—technological, societal and environmental. Leaders from GII’s Building Change roundtable in San Francisco describe these new challenges and how to begin adapting to disruption now.


Research demonstrates that greater diversity creates better organizational and financial performance. Leaders from GII’s Building Change roundtable in San Francisco discuss the impact of diversity and strategies for organizations to develop a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

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