Company restructures due to cash flow issues across the GCC are resulting in an increase in redundancies. The outcome is a job-driven market with less jobs available. Talent seeking new opportunities should thus focus on honing some technical, soft as well as transferable skills to help them stand out. 

For companies hiring, we have a unique insight into the skills your business needs to excel in the year ahead. Here are the top 10 skills set to propel the Middle East property and construction sector forward.

1.    Asset Management and Facilities Management 

There is a real need for businesses to make better-informed investment choices. In order to prepare for potential challenges in the market, we expect there to be an increase in the need for businesses to bring in talented professionals with experience in asset management, including development appraisals. To help plan for the challenges of 2020 and beyond, it is important that businesses are not overvaluing sites that are at risk of potentially negative market impacts. This is particularly prevalent in the residential market. Moreover, the functionality of buildings is being reassessed due to changing market demands. For example, with more people working from home and less people in the office due to COVID-19 restrictions, there is a decrease in demand for large, open plan office spaces and an increasing demand for functional living / workspaces within residences in the Middle East. Additionally, there is a need to incorporate changes in health and safety protocols and the upkeep of buildings aligned with Covid-19 safe practice standards that have been introduced by local authorities.

2.    Stakeholder management

This is important at all levels of the property, construction, facilities management, and social housing sectors. As client expectations grow, the ability to effectively build and manage these relationships becomes ever more important. Getting buy-in from senior stakeholders will determine whether a deal moves forward, so commercial awareness will play a big part in this. From an external perspective, consumers within every market are much savvier, and when it comes to the services that they are paying for, demand more than a simple solution. Effective stakeholder management skills will always serve professionals well.

3.    Project management

Effective project management is the bedrock of success in this sector, particularly for longer-term projects. A skilled project manager must be able to multi-task, ensuring that each phase of a project runs to time and budget. This, in turn, requires excellent interpersonal abilities in terms of liaising with key stakeholders at the right time and ensuring that customers are kept in the loop on progress. Project managers must also have an appreciation of risk and proactively assess any potential pitfalls.

Although project management can be studied, ultimately there is no substitute for well-worn experience in this area.

4.    Coaching/team development

Managing a large team is difficult in any sector, and in property and facilities management, teams can be spread across various sites and are not always in contact with their managers. Despite these hurdles, it is still important to be constantly focusing on developing the skill sets of your teams, to drive efficiency and innovation. The level of service that customers receive can make or break a business. This is why team performance management is now more important than ever in ensuring consistent and high-level delivery of service, and that everyone is adhering to their agreed contracts.

5.    Business development

In uncertain times, competition has never been fiercer for new business. However, landing a project or contract is one thing, but it is another to successfully deliver and drive repeat business. For this reason, the ability to build strong and lasting business relationships is highly admired in the sector and something that professionals at all levels should be striving to do.

Skilled networkers are highly valuable in the property sector, as competition continues to grow and the expectations of the level of service delivered increases.   

6.    Financial and commercial acumen

Many could be mistaken for believing that it is only professionals who spend their days working with spreadsheets who need to possess financial acumen. However, a keen appreciation of commerciality is important at all levels of an operation. With building works delayed due to the impact of COVID-19, Force Majeure disputes and payment delays are some of the direct outcomes. Those with a comprehensive understanding of market changes, upcoming challenges, opportunities, and legislation will be in a better position to adapt quickly when required. Ultimately, the ability to increase revenue and effectively manage a deal are key skill sets that businesses are looking for. With building works delayed due to the impact of COVID-19, Force

Majeure disputes and payment delays are some of the direct outcomes.

7.    Chartered credentials

While new technologies and market forces are undoubtedly transforming the sector, some fundamentals remain unchanged.

An example of this is the value of an MRICS qualification. The skills of a chartered surveyor will vary according to the specific sector that they choose to qualify within, whether this is residential, planning and development, or facilities management, to name but a few. However, the quality of training and the level of their competencies will be in line with the highest of the RICS qualification standard. Therefore, those that possess chartered credentials will remain highly employable. 

8.    Proven track record

A good career history is always viewed positively by employers. While it can take time to build up a credible track record, even those at the junior end of the market can start building their reputation by understanding and then accurately detailing how they have helped to shape a recent project. In either case, the real skill lies in being able to communicate and demonstrate value.

Whether you are applying for a new role or going for a promotion, the ability to demonstrate your track record will always stand you in very good stead.

9.    Innovation

As the challenges facing the industry change, organisations are increasingly keen to identify new employees who can challenge working practices and develop new ideas, whether this is using new technology or advances in environmental and sustainability initiatives. 

10.    Contract procurement and performance management

Contract management and ensuring that obligations are met by both parties involved, in the agreed time frame are vital to the smooth running and management of any given contract. Performance management then becomes vital to ensure consistent and high-level delivery of service.

At Michael Page Property and Construction, we have access to an extensive database of top professionals looking for new opportunities who can drive your business toward success. 

For a confidential discussion on how we can help you to hire and retain the best talent with the right skills to fill your vacancy, get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants today.

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If you are an employer and would like to talk to us about your current recruitment needs, or learn about the salary benchmarks and skills in demand, then please fill in the form below, and one of our consultants will call you back.

UAE Salary Guide & Hiring Insights 2022

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