An increasing number of UK public sector projects are at risk of experiencing an increase in costs and delays because of the regional skills gap. Until this demand for skilled and trained people is addressed, more and more projects are at risk of increased project duration and costs.
Costs are rising as a premium is being paid to acquire commercial, financial and project management labour. It is in these sectors that a demand has been most significantly felt, as the demand for these skills outstrip supply more than any other area. The delays caused by finding the skilled workers, and scheduling them to come on to the site can lead to project delays and means that project can then go over budget.
EY have carried out analysis into this skills deficit and has seen that the East of England is facing the biggest challenge in terms of finding skilled tradespeople. This region also has the largest project management skills deficit in the UK. The research showed that there are five times as many roles for project managers in the East of England that there is skilled labour to fill them. It is thought that over the course of the next few years, with a greater emphasis on creating sustainable energy projects, offshore wind farms will be the largest driver for demand in this region.
Following the East is the South West, with three times as many roles as skilled labour. On the other end of the scale it has been found that London has the largest project management surplus in the UK, with data showing that there is slightly more than twice as many skilled professionals available to work than available projects.
The National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline data has predicted that there will be £500 billion projects taking place across the UK until 2021. These projects include Crossrail and Hinkley Point. With such a massive investment planned, the demand for skilled workers and talented project managers is expected to increase. It is also thought that complementary skills sects such as commercial and finance will also see an increase in demand alongside project management.