Tapping into talent

Nearly all of the companies I talk to mention finding and retaining good qualified staff as one of the major headaches of running a landscape practice in the GCC.

COMMENT, Human Resource

Nearly all of the companies I talk to mention finding and retaining good qualified staff as one of the major headaches of running a landscape practice in the GCC.

In part this is because of the huge number of projects in the region - supply of architects simply isn't keeping pace with demand.

But it is also down to the paucity of locally available candidates. Our informal survey of universities in the region found an astonishing lack of landscape architecture courses in the region. Although a number of colleges offer a landscape component as part of a course, only one to our knowledge - the Abu Dhabi university - offers a course dedicated to landscape architecture, and this is on hold for the time being.

With a lack of graduates coming onto the job market, what this means, of course, is that staff have to be lured from overseas, a process that is both time-consuming and costly, particularly outside of the UAE where it is harder to tempt quality staff, and particularly at senior level.

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recently announced that it is working in partnership with schools in a bid to reach out to students and increase efforts to recruit the next generation of landscape architects in the US.

Given that the number of landscape architects needed here over the next decade is only going to increase, isn't it about time that more was done to nurture local talent in this region too?

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