GCC's building sector needs 500,000 more workers

New DIAC study finds shortfall in key skills

NEWS, Business

The GCC's construction and real estate markets are facing a manpower shortfall of 500,000 workers, according to a new study.

The Workforce Planning Study, commissioned by Dubai International Academic City and carried out by Deloitte, states that building and construction project management skills are lacking among top-level management, according to 43% of respontents, while 54% of firms say design engineering skills are lacking among mid-level staff. Poor knowledge of health & safety is also prevalent among entry-level employees.

The study also found there was a shortfall among skilled tradespeople in the MEP sector, with HVAC, plumbing and electrical engineers all in demand.

Dubai's construction sector contributed 21% of the its growth in the first quarter of this year, and accounts for 7.8% of overall GDP.

The Emirate's population is currently predicted to grow by aaround 100,000 people per year, and according to HSBC Dubai will need 45,000 new hotel rooms in the run-up to Expo 2020, at a cost of over $8.4bn (AED31bn).

Infrastructure works are likely to cost $3.4bn (AED12.54bn). An Oxford Economics report estimates that the Expo will lead to 277,000 new jobs being created in the UAE between 2013-2021, with the bulk of these being in the construction and tourism markets.

Dr. Ayoub Kazim, managing director of Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Village, said: “The growth in the property and construction sectors is driven by strong economic and demographic fundamentals, and robust government spending.

"Yet, high attrition rates among expatriate labour force and lack of skilled labour are causing an increased labour cost, which amounts to up to 25% of construction costs.

"Furthermore, new green building standards have been developed in the GCC, focused on increasing energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. The continued growth of the construction industry will depend on its ability to address skill gaps and invest in new talent required to support technological developments.”

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