Room to improve GCC construction professionals' skills

Sourcing skilled and experienced top-tier construction talent can pose challenges, an official from Klampfer Middle East told ConstructionWeekOnline

There is room to improve the skill-set of the GCC's construction professionals [representational image].
There is room to improve the skill-set of the GCC's construction professionals [representational image].

GCC's construction talent has room to improve and imbibe more skills, an industry expert told ConstructionWeekOnline.

Sam Chehab, projects director at Klampfer Middle East (KME), said work "gets done to an acceptable standard" in the UAE, but may require additional involvement by quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) professionals at times. 

KME's portfolio includes the Novotel Expo Sharjah Hotel project, where the company is involved as main contractor.

When asked to rate the skills of the GCC's current workforce, Chehab said: "It’s difficult to lump so many different sub-sectors into one measurement.

"The skill level varies greatly, but on average I would say that it needs improvement."

Chehab said sourcing skilled and experienced top-tier construction talent can prove to be difficult. 

READ: Klampfer erects Raimondi flat-top crane in Sharjah

"Based on what I have seen, the literacy level of technical documents is far lower [than it ideally should be] – this leads to more supervisors required on-site," he continued. 

"To give a current example, during our search for land surveyors, I’m finding that some of the candidates have a knowledge base [equal to] approximately 30% to 40% of the land surveyors that I have worked with abroad." 

KME, a part of KBW Investments' portfolio, was most recently searching for draftsmen, land surveyors, and engineers.

"[These] positions [...] were activated to meet the needs of our current jobsites, but we do not recruit with only one project in mind," Chehab said. 

"KME recruits talent based on a long-term roadmap, as we continue to cultivate [the] people who demonstrate potential, and attempt to retain team members that add value to the company’s operations and overall delivery and aims." 

Earlier this month, construction consultancy Turner & Townsend revealed the findings of an international survey covering the construction sectors of 43 markets, including the UAE and Oman.

More than 50% (24) of the markets studied by Turner & Townsend face labour shortages, it was found, with additional challenges such as skills shortages, exchange rate pressures, and low productivity also enumerated in the report. 

READ: Skills shortages in construction remain a challenge, survey finds

Chehab's views will appear in an H1 2017 employment review, to be published in Construction Week #660 (17 June, 2017).

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