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Training can tackle skills gaps amid global construction disruption

EXCLUSIVE: The global shortage in construction skills requires training on disruptive technology, RICS's Robert Jackson says

Robert Jackson, RICS.
© ITP Media Group
Robert Jackson, RICS.

The need to equip employees with key skills and industry best practices is taking on further importance against a backdrop of globally cited skills shortages in construction, writes Robert Jackson, managing director for Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa at Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, in this exclusive comment piece for Construction Week.

As the regional construction industry continues to grow, the demand for experienced, competent construction professionals also increases.  According to Turner & Townsend’s International construction market survey 2018, a global skills shortage is affecting the construction market, with 67% of survey respondents claiming that skilled labour shortages had a major or large impact on the delivery of construction projects.

This skills shortage in a dynamically changing sector is even more prevalent as indicated in the RICS Construction Survey Middle East, which shows a lack of skilled surveyors, construction, and commercial managers in the region. 

Being an expert in one subject is no longer sufficient, with professionals having to keep ahead of industry developments to allow them to compete at the highest level in the marketplace.

In a marketplace made primarily of an expatriate workforce, with varying levels of knowledge and skills, ensuring staff are competent in their chosen discipline is a growing priority for all regional organisations. It is particularly relevant in driving efficiencies and mitigating risk. 

Equipping employees with key skills and industry best practice benefits both the organisations and employees alike.

Talent management is at the top of many employers’ agendas, and it is recognised that a stronger emphasis is needed to develop 'soft skills' such as negotiation, influencing, commercial awareness, and collaboration. 

The way in which people do business is changing, and many of the traditional roles in the construction industry will be unrecognisable in a few years.

Being an expert in one subject is no longer sufficient, with professionals having to keep ahead of industry developments to allow them to compete at the highest level in the marketplace. 

With the emergence of technologies such as building information modelling, 3D printing, smart buildings, and drones, and rapidly evolving sustainability requirements, organisations must keep themselves updated with developments in the market and industry best practices.

The construction sector is moving towards a more collaborative approach to project delivery, and developers are looking to consultancies and suppliers to ensure their projects have a competitive edge.

Talent management is at the top of many employers’ agendas, and it is recognised that a stronger emphasis is needed to develop 'soft skills' such as negotiation, influencing, commercial awareness, and collaboration.

As such, the incorporation of disruptors such as technology and sustainability should be an integral part of training and development part of construction professionals. 

With learning new skills becoming a critical part of job security and employee retention, there is a wide selection of products available.

Training can range from short online courses to refresh an individual’s knowledge; bespoke face to face courses to address an ongoing learning requirement, to attaining chartered or professional qualifications.

With pressures to attract and develop skilled professionals continuing, demand for competency-based training will continue to grow.  

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Construction Week - Issue 747
Aug 03, 2019