Property and construction is a complex market in the UK. The skill sets in highest demand cover a wide variety of industry sectors including land acquisition, planning, finance, asset management, design, surveying and construction to name but a few. The market today is still feeling the effects of the 2008 financial crisis due to a lack of hiring and training during the three proceeding years. In addition to this, there has been a huge housing shortage and lack of investment in infrastructure construction.

The Government has increased investments into large projects such as the Cross Rail, High Speed Two (HS2) and a variety of road and airport improvements, however, there is still a significant shortage of talented professionals in the sector. Drawing on our decades of experience in the sector, we’ve put together a list of the most in-demand skills in property and construction as we enter the New Year. To ensure your business is ahead of the hiring game in 2018, be sure you have professionals who are experienced and possess the top 10 skills expected to shape the market this year.

1. Commercial acumen

Competition is high in the industry, which is why the ability to put in a bid for a large commercial project and win a contract is key. Professionals with sound commercial acumen who can ensure profitability through accurately pricing and running a project that covers costs and yields a positive return will be highly valuable assets throughout 2018. With investments in the UK increasing, ensuring you have the right team of professionals with this experience will be fundamental in the profitability and growth of your business.

2. Contract management

Creating, agreeing upon and managing construction or building contracts is a key aspect of any development. To ensure obligations are met by both parties in the agreed upon time, and to the desired standard of the client, professionals skilled in contract management are vital. The continued and efficient operation of property and construction companies rely heavily on these professionals creating clearly defined and well-managed contracts, so be sure your contract manager is a leading talent in the field. 

3. Fire, health and safety compliance

Fire, health and safety compliance, is an increasingly important issue in the sector. As companies are under increasing scrutiny to ensure properties are well above standard in terms of health and safety and fire regulations, professionals skilled in managing fire, health and safety and compliance have never been so crucial. At a time when there is a lot of sensitivity around the subject, it is essential to not only ensure compliance, but to highlight your commitment to quality and safety. 

4. Mixed tenure development

With land at a premium and space for new developments low, the need to maximise the return on new sites is under the spotlight. Professionals with the technical skills and know-how to make the best use out of a property through experience in managing large-scale developments are invaluable members of any site team. Be sure you have the right talent on your team.

5. Quantity surveying

Managing costs is a key aspect of any construction project, although, within the UK we have an unresolved shortage of skilled quantity surveying professionals. With more investments in public infrastructure, a new social housing strategy and a promise from the Government to deliver more homes, the need for these skills has never been more crucial. Competition for these professionals is especially high and buy-backs are very common. It is essential that you find, attain and retain the best quantity surveyors for your team. 

6. Agile restructuring

If businesses do not keep moving forward with a flexible and agile approach to change, then they may not be nimble enough to tackle challenges around the corner. Business models that work in one economic environment are not guaranteed to work in another. As we approach more uncertain market conditions in 2018, it is important to hire professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to restructure, improve operational efficiency and strip costs when needed. 

7. Infrastructure intuition 

As the Government continues to invest in large infrastructure projects around the country, the need for professionals who have experience with large projects has increased. The ability to understand the complexity of these projects from planning to completion, particularly managing resources, is a very coveted skill. If your business is involved with such projects, it is crucial to have the right people on your team.

8. PRS asset management

As the private rented sector (PRS) continues to grow in the UK, so too does the need for efficient asset management. Managing such a large portfolio of assets requires specialist skills to ensure the properties are well maintained and are up to standard in terms of quality, living conditions and fire, health and safety compliance. You need professionals who are experienced in asset management to maintain your assets’ value and ensure the longer-term security of your portfolio.

9. MRICS qualification

Considered to be the ‘gold standard' of land, property and construction sectors right around the world, Members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS) are highly experienced and can operate to the highest of industry standards. You want to hire the best of the best, so be sure to keep an eye out for candidates with an MRICS qualification.

10. Stakeholder management

Every business wants to achieve the best results, which is why stakeholder management is such a fundamental skill. Professionals with such skills and the ability to develop communication management plans to engage and influence stakeholders, facilitate success. Already in constant high demand, there is tough competition for the best talent in the market, be sure your team is well-equipped to ensure effective stakeholder management. 
If you’re looking to hire, why not get in touch with one of our specialist property and construction consultants for a confidential discussion about how we could find the skilled candidates you need to drive your business forward in 2018 and beyond?