The Robots Are Coming! Six New Construction Jobs That May Exist in 2036


The world of construction is facing a period of significant disruption. Several studies have suggested technologies could automate up to 75% of jobs in the coming decades. 

Where other industries have evolved and adopted technological disruption at a much faster rate, the construction industry has lagged behind -- continuing to rely heavily on traditional manual labour. 

Consulting firm McKinsey predicts that the industry is overdue in embracing newer technologies. The development of task automation and innovation in the construction sector are the most significant areas of uncertainty for the industry.

In anticipation of The Urban Developer’s upcoming panel discussion at Urbanity ’17, The Robots Are Coming, we thought we’d provide an overview of six jobs that could be created by 2036 as autonomous machinery takes a more prominent place within the industry.

As outlined by the 2016 CSIRO Farsight Report, here are six examples of construction jobs that may exist in 2036.

  • Building assembly technician

  • Someone who oversees robotic systems and examines the data feeds on a project, optimising workflows and AI programming, or making adjustments based on real time feedback from clients about design and/or changes to materials.

  • Online property profile manager

  • The real estate market could operate entirely from an online platform—no agents in the traditional sense. Some sellers will be able to do it themselves, but many will require someone to upload data about properties, and answer requests from potential buyers.

    These future professionals might administer sophisticated lifestyle surveys with interested buyers, to help them more efficiently match buyers with suitable properties.

  • Construction artist

  • More industrial designer than architect, these professionals are highly paid for their ability to convert the possibilities of additive manufacturing into extraordinary works of art.

    Buildings and infrastructure look more like structures that have been grown in a forest, or poured out of a tin, than pieced together with standardised components. Like famous paintings today, buildings and houses by certain designers may attract ridiculous sums of money. ‘Knock off’ designs might be licensed to the mass market to ensure the original remains one of a kind.

  • Virtual/augmented reality trainers

  • Breakthroughs in VR and AR technology could provide low-cost immersive environments where apprentices and trainers can meet virtually in any training situation, such as worksite, factory, design studio — the possibilities are endless!

    A new breed of trainers and training organisations will be at the vanguard of creating dynamic high fidelity digital experiences that accurately match the skill level of students, build motivation and a sense of wonder and curiosity.  

  • Building drone operators

  • These professionals control and program drones to carry out complex tasks, such as site inspections, deliveries and maintenance.

    Such operators will be based in offices thousands of kilometres from work sites, yet provide construction and asset managers timely on-the-ground support. The sky in 2036 could be teaming with drones, necessitating new air-traffic control capability, especially in high density urban areas.  

  • Robot resource manager

  • We’re familiar with human resource managers, but a robot future will need someone to take care of commissioning, software programming, maintenance, and repurposing or recycling of robotic parts.

    It’s a complex job that requires a comprehensive knowledge of many robotic systems, and endless materials and components of different vintages. Keeping track of this exploding field of technology will be a key challenge for the role.

    An artificial intelligence interface is likely to be an essential support to humans in this role; think J.A.R.V.I.S., the fictional artificial intelligence system developed by Tony Stark to manage all things technology in the blockbuster comic-movie series Iron Man.


    The future of construction, and how artificial intelligence and big data are being used to disrupt cities are just a few of the topics being addressed at the upcoming Urbanity '17 conference.
    Proudly brought to life by The Urban Developer, in partnership with Queensland Government and Brisbane Development Association, Urbanity '17 is a two-day conference held at Brisbane’s Royal International Convention Centre 28 – 29 September 2017.

    Ticket registrations are open. Be quick to ensure you don’t miss out.

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